Valerie Jarrett Speaks Out About ‘Roseanne’ Cancellation and Star’s Racist Tweet: ‘We Have to Turn It Into a Teaching Moment’

Valerie Jarrett wants people to learn from Roseanne Barr’s mistake. The former White House advisor, who was the subject of the sitcom star’s racist tweet on Tuesday, May 29, spoke out after Roseanne was cancelled amid the backlash.

“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense,” Jarrett said during a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC, which was scheduled before the controversy broke earlier in the day.

Valerie-Jarrett-Speaks-Out-About-‘Roseanne’-Cancellation
Valerie Jarrett and Roseanne Barr VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images; ABC/Robert Trachtenberg

“The person who’s walking down the street, minding their own business, and they see somebody cling to their purse or want to cross the street,” she continued. “Or, every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation – ‘the talk’ — as we call it. As you say, those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day.”

ABC announced on Tuesday that Roseanne would not return for season 11 (also known as season 2 of the revival) after Barr tweeted that Jarrett looked like the “Muslim brotherhood” and the movie Planet of the Apes “had a baby.”

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” the president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey, said in a statement.

Prior to the news of the cancellation, Barr apologized for her “bad joke” on Twitter. “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better,” she wrote. “Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.”

Roseanne’s executive producer and showrunner, Bruce Helford, also responded to the cancellation news in a statement to Variety: “On behalf of all the writers and producers, we worked incredibly hard to create an amazing show. I was personally horrified and saddened by the comments and in no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is.”

In addition to ABC pulling reruns of Roseanne (the season finale aired on May 22), Paramount Network, CMT and TV Land have also pulled reruns of the original series off the air.

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