Roseanne Barr’s interview with Sean Hannity Thursday night was, as one might expect, something to behold.
In the two months following the tweet in which she compared former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to both the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes, Barr’s explanations for her words have shifted multiple times. She’s blamed Ambien, claimed her allusion to Planet of the Apes was a critique of “the anti-semitism of the Iran deal,” tearfully told fans not to defend her, and screamed at the top of her lungs, “I thought the bitch was white!” She’s also said that the real reason ABC fired her was her support of Donald Trump.
Rod Serling wrote Planet of The Apes. It was about anti-semitism. That is what my tweet referred to-the anti semitism of the Iran deal. Low IQ ppl can think whatever they want.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) June 14, 2018
On Thursday night, Barr doubled down on one of those tactics, saying that her tweet was “political“: “That is a tweet about asking for accountability from the previous administration about the Iran deal—which Valerie Jarrett is the author of,” Barr told Hannity. “And that was what was in my head.”
“I was so sad that people thought it was racist. . . . In this world, it seems as if words matter more than actions,” Barr said. “But in the real-life world, actions matter more than words, and my actions over 30 years as an artist and a comedian, I’ve always been against the abuse of power toward all marginalized groups.”
It’s true that the original Roseanne offered some poignant critiques of bigotry, including an episode in which the entire Conner family must confront the fact that they each, in their own ways, are racist—even Roseanne, much to her dismay. Barr told Hannity, as she’s said before, that she has black children in her family—a godson, specifically. She touted her show’s ratings success. “They can’t take that away from me, no matter what’s happened,” she said. She also repeated her insistence that she did not know Valerie Jarrett was black when she wrote her tweet and said she’d like to turn the entire ordeal into a “teachable moment.”
When asked to say what she’d tell Jarrett, were they to speak directly, Barr replied, “Valerie, let’s discuss this. Don’t assume that you know what I meant, because I think you don’t know what I meant, and I would like to make it clearer to you what I did mean, and I would like to find a way past all that to really discuss the issue at hand, and to try to find common ground between us.”
When Hannity pressed Barr to lay out the apology she might present to Jarrett, Barr added, “I’m so sorry that you thought I was racist, and that you thought my tweet was racist—because it wasn’t. It was political. And I’m sorry for the misunderstanding that caused, my ill-worded tweet. And I’m sorry that you feel harmed and hurt. I never meant that, and for that, I apologize. I never meant to hurt anybody or say anything negative about an entire race of people, which I think my 30 years of work can attest to.”
“Plus, I’d tell her she’s got to get a new haircut,” Barr added. “I mean, seriously. She needs a new haircut.”
The two also discussed Barr’s history of mental-health issues. Barr referred to herself as a “creative genius”—first as a joke and then seriously—and claimed that the “part of your psyche or brain” that makes one a creative genius “is really close to the madness.”
Barr also repeated her insistence that neither she nor Donald Trump nor his supporters are actually racist. She claimed that the coverage of her tweet frequently misquoted her, expressing disdain multiple times for the way her words were characterized. “It was just devastating,” she said of the fallout from her tweet. “To be misunderstood is the worst thing.”