Roseanne: An­tisemitism played a part in my fir­ing by ABC

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - EXCLUSIVE • By AMY SPIRO

Roseanne Barr told The Jerusalem Post this week that she was fired by ABC from the re­boot of her sit­com due in part to an­tisemitism.

“I feel that what hap­pened to me, a large part of it is an­tisemitism,” the Jewish ac­tress told the Post on Thurs­day, in a phone in­ter­view from her home in Hawaii. “I think it played a part. The fact that I was never al­lowed to ex­plain what I meant, and what I meant was a com­men­tary on Iran. So they pur­posely mis­char­ac­ter­ized what I said and wouldn’t let me ex­plain. And in haste they did some­thing un­prece­dented that they’ve never done to any other artist. And at the base of that I think it’s be­cause I am the most vo­cal per­son about Is­rael and BDS [boy­cott, di­vest­ment and sanc­tions].”

Barr was fired by ABC in May less than a day af­ter she sent a racist tweet about Va­lerie Jar­rett, a for­mer ad­viser in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, writ­ing: “mus­lim broth­er­hood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Within hours, ABC said it was can­cel­ing Roseanne, which was re­booted ear­lier that year to mas­sive rat­ings. At the time, the net­work said Barr’s tweet was “ab­hor­rent, re­pug­nant and in­con­sis­tent with our val­ues, and we have de­cided to can­cel her show.” The fol­low­ing month, the net­work de­cided to bring back the show but with­out Barr, and title it The Con­ners.

In the in­ter­view this week, Barr said the ex­ec­u­tives at ABC treated her un­fairly be­cause she is Jewish and sup­ports Is­rael.

“What I said was mis­char­ac­ter­ized pur­posely and re­peat­edly so they didn’t even know what I meant, but they wanted to shape it and they did. They said it was some­thing ra­cial when it was ac­tu­ally some­thing po­lit­i­cal,” she said. “And I have never in my life done any­thing racist and I think my ca­reer proves that. And they did it so quickly – to fire and la­bel and slan­der my name. I think it had a lot to do with iden­ti­fy­ing with Is­rael.”

In just two weeks, Barr will be ar­riv­ing in Is­rael, ac­com­pa­nied by her friend and mentor Rabbi Sh­mu­ley Boteach. She is slated to speak at the Knes­set on Jan­uary 31, as well as hold other pub­lic events

around the coun­try.

Through­out the tur­moil of the past year, Boteach has sup­ported and de­fended Barr against the me­dia on­slaught.

“She wrote one tweet, she apol­o­gized for it, she cried, she asked Va­lerie Jar­rett pub­licly for for­give­ness, she hum­bled her­self,” Boteach said, adding that her treat­ment was harsh and hasty com­pared to many in Hol­ly­wood who have been ac­cused of much worse in the past two years.

Barr said she will be fur­ther dis­cussing her fir­ing from the show in her Knes­set speech, as well as her ties to Is­rael, her ex­pe­ri­ences with an­tisemitism and her op­po­si­tion to BDS.

“I want Is­raelis to know what it’s like to be an Amer­i­can Jew, so I’ll be speak­ing about that,” she said. “You guys don’t go through the an­tisemitism that we go through in Amer­ica.”

Barr, who said she ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of an­tisemitism grow­ing up in Utah in the 1950s, told the Post that she turned to Ju­daism in par­tic­u­lar over the past year.

“It is some­thing that I al­ways turn to, and it strength­ened my re­solve to be­come more pub­lic about it,” she said. “I de­cided that this was the time to stand up to be counted.” She said she stud­ies To­rah reg­u­larly with Boteach and even teaches the Book of Es­ther to other peo­ple on­line.

Boteach said Barr’s trip is slated to in­clude meet­ings with Deputy Knes­set Speaker Hi­lik Bar, Jewish Agency head Isaac Her­zog and Strate­gic Af­fairs Min­is­ter Gi­lad Er­dan, among oth­ers. Barr, who was last in Is­rael in 2016, said she is look­ing for­ward to vis­it­ing friends, places and “eat­ing Is­raeli food.”

Speak­ing at The Jerusalem Post Con­fer­ence last April, the ac­tress said she was con­sid­er­ing one day mov­ing to Is­rael and running for prime min­is­ter. In Septem­ber, she said she would move to Is­rael when The Con­ners pre­miered the fol­low­ing month. While that didn’t happen, Barr still isn’t rul­ing any­thing out.

“I’m go­ing to be in­ves­ti­gat­ing stay­ing there for a long pe­riod of time,” she said. “But you know, things just got post­poned for fam­ily mat­ters and stuff like that.”

In 2012, Barr ran for pres­i­dent of the United States and re­ceived 0.05% of the vote na­tion­wide. But she still thinks about running from time to time.

“I like pol­i­tics, I’m very in­ter­ested in it. I’d have to be real se­ri­ous to [run for prime min­is­ter],” she said, “and so far I’m bet­ter running for queen – of Is­rael or the world,” she joked.

Still, she said, she wants peo­ple to lis­ten to her ideas for change.

“I’m think­ing about it, I am think­ing about it,” she said. “But the rea­son I would run is I have very com­mon-sense so­lu­tions to prob­lems. And I’m more in­ter­ested [in] peo­ple hear­ing my so­lu­tions to things than running for any­thing. And they’re all To­rah­based so­lu­tions.” •

(Marc Is­rael Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

ROSEANNE BARR

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