“It had to happen,” the True Lies star, 59, said of the show’s abrupt end in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, May 30. “And I am going to tell you the truth: She wanted it to happen, if you saw how her tweets escalated this weekend. If it hadn’t happened yesterday, this season would have been so awful for everyone every day because she would have felt like she was [being] taken advantage [of], just like when I left the show.”
Arnold began working as a writer on ABC’s original Roseanne series in 1988 before starring as the character Arnie Thomas, the on-off husband of Nancy Bartlett (played by Sandra Bernhard). He married Barr, 65, in real life in 1990. They divorced in 1994.
“ABC lost maybe $1 billion from this [cancellation]. This show was grinding out money hand over fist and they lost it all because somebody didn’t say, ‘Get that phone out of her hand,’” the actor told the publication. “She’s not going to go on TV and say these things. But you put that phone in her hand and she is a loose cannon. … Everyone has always been scared s–tless of her. She is a f–king a–hole, but so am I. No one ever stood up to her like I did.”
Later on Wednesday, Arnold appeared on Anderson Cooper 360° to discuss Barr’s since-deleted racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, in which she called the former Barack Obama adviser the child of “Muslim brotherhood” and “Planet of the Apes.” The actress later apologized and claimed she had been “Ambien tweeting.”
“We have the First Amendment and we also have the Second Amendment,” Arnold said on the CNN show. “But you don’t just give someone a handgun to walk around the stage there. You got to be careful.”
The Roseanne reboot premiered in March to critical acclaim and was quickly renewed for another season. However, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey announced on Tuesday, May 29, that the series had been axed over Barr’s “abhorrent” and “repugnant” tweet.