Roseanne Barr Responds To ‘The Conners’ Premiere In Statement

Roseanne Barr’s namesake sitcom character is officially dead, but the comedian and actress is still kicking.

Roseanne Conner, the family matriarch in the popular ’80s and ’90s television show “Roseanne” and it’s 2018 revival, was revealed to have died in Tuesday’s premiere of “The Conners.” The spinoff series was created to carry on with the revival ― sans Barr ― after ABC fired her in May for a racist tweet.

Minutes into the first episode of the “The Conners,” the audience learns that Roseanne died of an opioid overdose. The information wasn’t new. Last month, Barr happily spoiled the way in which she believed the show would kill off her character, though she admitted she wasn’t 100 percent sure.

Barr’s knee-jerk response to the new show’s premiere was old hat as well.

“I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!” she posted on Twitter not long after the new show aired.

Shortly after her initial tweet, Barr released a longer statement on Facebook with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a longtime friend and advocate who often has Barr on his podcast.

Rachel Luna via Getty Images

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Roseanne Barr appear together in Beverly Hills, California, on Sept. 17.

Barr and Shmuley both took issue with the way the show’s writers canned her iconic character.

“An opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show,” the statement says ― though “Roseanne” was known for grappling with difficult issues like abortion and domestic abuse.

The statement also argues that ABC should not have canceled “Roseanne” after her racist tweet, in which she likened former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to a “Planet of the Apes” character:

The show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. … Through humor and a universally relatable main character, the show represented a weekly teaching moment for our nation. Yet it is often following an inexcusable ― but not unforgivable ― mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: Forgiveness.

Roseanne Barr attends a live taping of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s podcast in July in New York City.

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Roseanne Barr attends a live taping of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s podcast in July in New York City.

The statement continues to hammer on the theme of forgiveness, a point that Barr has attempted to make before despite previously giving a laundry list of excuses for her tweet ― including that she was under the influence of Ambien and that she thought Jarrett (or “the bitch” as Barr refers to her in a rage-filled YouTube video) “was white.”

After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.

The statement ends by calling the cancellation of “Roseanne” a squandered opportunity “due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”

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