Culture

Before 'Roseanne' Cancellation, Valerie Jarrett Was Called by Disney's CEO

Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Barack Obama, received a phone call from Disney CEO Bob Iger before ABC announced Roseanne's cancellation Tuesday. 

Jarrett was the subject of a since-deleted racist tweet by comedian Roseanne Barr. In the tweet, the 65-year-old television star equated Jarrett to be a by-product of Planet of the Apes and a Muslim group. This resulted in the demise of Barr's wildly successful revival on ABC.

During the "Everyday Racism in America" town hall Tuesday, Jarrett addressed the issue at hand and shared how Iger reached out to her amid the controversy.

"I want to mention Bob Iger, who is the CEO of Disney, called me before the announcement," Jarrett, 61, said. "He apologized. He said he had zero tolerance for that sort of racist, bigoted comment and he wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling his show and so I appreciate that they did that so swiftly."

Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, declared that Barr's statement was "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values." This consequently led to the show's abrupt conclusion, halting production on an intended Season 11. Iger later suggested that canceling the show was the most appropriate thing to do, saying: "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."

Upon its return to ABC, Roseanne proved to be a surprise hit. The series attracted 18.2 million viewers in its March debut, according to CNN. Ratings for the show stayed steady over the course of its remaining eight episodes, which resulted in ABC renewing what Dungey once deemed as a "fresh and relevant" production. Barr's comments, however, took away from this success.

"I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans," Barr wrote Tuesday via Twitter. "I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste."

valerie jarrett pic Former aide to Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett shared that she received a phone call from Disney CEO Bob Iger before the "Roseanne" cancellation was announced. Here, Jarrett is pictured attending the Los Angeles LGBT Center's 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

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