It was a long night of Twitter for Roseanne Barr.
Hours after ABC canceled her reboot of “Roseanne” because of her racist tweet about a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Barr returned to the platform and posted more than 100 times. She tweeted, retweeted, reply-tweeted and, in many cases, deleted tweets from her account, @therealroseanne, which has been active since March 2011 and has 774,000 followers.
Barr’s overnight barrage comprised apologetic remarks, aggrieved statements, personal attacks, fond messages to her supporters and pointed references to the shadowy conspiracy theories that have long been a staple of her social media presence. The stream of tweets began hours after she declared, “I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter.”
After two tweets apologizing again to the former presidential adviser, Valerie Jarrett, Barr addressed her supporters directly at 12:03 a.m. Eastern Time, telling them not to defend her — even if she thought it was “sweet” of them to try. Losing her show, she wrote, was nothing compared with being labeled a racist over a single tweet. “That I regret even more,” she wrote.
An hour earlier, in a tweet she later deleted, she apologized “to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs.”
Not long before that, she retweeted a post from the account @LegendaryEnergy, which has more than 15,000 followers, that defended the post by Barr that had started the firestorm: a tweet likening Jarrett to the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.”
“I look like a monkey,” @LegendaryEnergy wrote. “Why? My DNA is 96 percent similar to a monkey’s. It makes scientific sense.”
At one point overnight, Barr blamed the insomnia medication Ambien for the incendiary tweet. In a post she later deleted, she wrote: “It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting.” But that tweet also had a note of contrition, saying the offensive post had gone too far. “It was egregious,” she wrote. “Indefensible. I made a mistake.”
In response to several people on Twitter, Barr claimed she did not know Jarrett was African-American. “I thought she was Saudi,” she said to one supporter. To others, she tweeted that she believed Jarrett was “Jewish and Persian.”
At 12:37 a.m., Barr replied to a tweet from the account @therealcornett, which falsely claimed that Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, had consulted with “an enraged” Michelle Obama before deciding to cancel “Roseanne.”
“Is this true?” Barr wrote.
She went on to retweet a clip of an interview with the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that had been originally posted by the Fox Business host Trish Regan. “I believe they were looking for a reason to cancel Roseanne and here’s why,” Cain said in the clip. “Even though the show was a ratings success, forces within ABC didn’t like the fact that her conservative defense of certain things was so popular.”
She also retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec — a right-wing commentator who promoted the “Pizzagate” hoax — that included a photograph of comedian George Carlin with the caption, “This man wouldn’t last a day on Twitter.”
In another self-serving retweet, Barr posted words of encouragement from the right-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins, who lost her job last year at the radio station LBC after tweeting that a “final solution” was needed to combat terrorism. “I have found the more I am fired, the busier I become,” Hopkins wrote. “You are headed for greatness.”
Barr also reacted to “Roseanne” cast members. In response to Michael Fishman, who played Barr’s son on the show and posted a statement condemning Barr’s tweet, she responded at 5 a.m., “You throw me under the bus. Nice!”
But she also offered apologies to Jarrett.
“@ValerieJarrett I want to apologize to you. I am very sorry to have hurt you. I hope you can accept this sincere apology!” she posted at 11:39 p.m.
Minutes later she wrote to Jarrett again, saying her words had been insensitive and tasteless. “I am truly sorry,” she wrote. “My whole life has been about fighting racism. I made a terrible mistake.”
As the dawn approached, Barr seemed ready to log off: “thanks for all your kind comments, everyone! Love u all goodnight.”
But she was back on the platform soon afterward, with a stream of retweets including one of a post that attacked Jarrett — made by an account that purports to belong to a Georgia politician, but is a known fake.
Then there was her retweet of a statement of support from a real politician — one of her fans — President Donald Trump.
“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr,” the president tweeted. “Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
Not long after the encouragement from the White House, Barr sounded a more combative tone, posting a tweet on Wednesday at 2:54 p.m. that suggested she was not about to leave the public sphere quietly: “You guys make me feel like fighting back. I will examine all of my options carefully.”
Copyright 2023 New York Times News Service. All rights reserved.