Roseanne Barr, whose hit show on ABC was cancelled after a particularly offensive tweet she targeted at a former Obama administration official, spoke to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach only two days after the scandal had broken out.
The remarkably offensive tweet read: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” a reference to senior advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett.
Boteach, who says he’s known the feisty Jewish comic actress for twenty years, reached out to her and told her that she had to, “in the name of repentance and her commitment to Judaism,” go public in an interview with him and “make this right.”
“She agreed and allowed me to interview her for a podcast that was comprehensive and moving,” Boteach reported, adding that Barr “cried through much of it. It was clear she was in terrible pain. She ended the discussion by expressing her desire to call Valerie Jarrett directly and apologize to her, even though she had already apologized on Jarrett’s Twitter feed and on her own Twitter account.”
According to Boteach, he decided to sit on the podcast until Sunday this week, after ABC had announced the relaunching of the show as “The Connors,” with the original cast except for Barr.
In the podcast (see full transcript here), a sobbing Roseanne says: “I have black children in my family. I can’t, I can’t let ‘em say these things about that, after thirty years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people.
“I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. But I’m not stupid for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that. And people think that I did that and it just kills me.
“I didn’t do that. And if they do think that, I’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid. I’m very sorry. But I don’t think that and I would never do that. I have loved ones who are African-American, and I just can’t stand it. I’ve made a huge error and I told ABC when they called me. They said… I gotta’ get a hold of myself here, wait. I gotta’ get a hold of myself.”
Barr blamed her state of mind when she issued the racist tweet on Ambien, a sedative primarily used for the treatment of people who have trouble sleeping. She commented: “And that’s no excuse, but that is what was real.”
“There’s no excuse, I don’t excuse it, it’s an explanation,” she told Boteach. “I was impaired you know.”
But when Boteach pressed her, Barr began to cry again, saying, “Of course, no I don’t excuse it. I horribly regret it. Are you kidding? I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything. And I said to God, ‘I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because I know I’ve done wrong. I’m going to accept what the consequences are,’ and I do, and I have. But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology, or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet. And as a Jew, it’s just horrible. It’s horrible.”