On the same day that her ex-husband Tom Arnold reaffirmed his intentions to force Donald Trump out of office, Roseanne Barr gave her first televised interview since the tweet heard round the world. Said interview was with Sean Hannity on the Fox News show that bears his name and took up the lion’s share of its hourlong runtime as the two discussed Barr’s political views and why, according to her, the comment that got her fired wasn’t actually racist.
Hannity began by addressing the tweet in question — “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj” — which has since been deleted. “That was a tweet asking for accountability from the previous administration for the Iran Deal, which Valerie Jarrett was the author of.” Barr’s tweet, which used a racist attack leveled against African-Americans for centuries, made no mention of the Iran Deal.
Asked what about the fallout she didn’t understand, Barr replied, “I don’t understand a lot, to tell you the truth. The first thing was shock when they said it was racial when it was political…everyone said I was a racist, which is the worst thing you can call a person, especially a Jewish person who grew up with Holocaust survivors.”
Barr was a well-known liberal for much of her life, which has changed in recent years; she’s now an avowed supporter of Donald Trump, as was her alter-ego on the most recent season of “Roseanne.” “Both extremes are not where my values are,” she explained of her political beliefs. “My values are in the middle. I believe we have the right to ask for accountability in where our tax money goes.”
Popular on IndieWire
“I’ve apologized a lot. It’s been two months and I feel like I have apologized and explained and asked for forgiveness and made recompense,” she said. “I was so sad that people thought it was racist.” Barr then said that actions matter more than words and that she’s always been a defender of marginalized people.
“I was so sad that anyone thinks that of me, but I’m not that person…”I hate everyone equally,” she added.
After Barr once again repeated her claim that she didn’t know Jarrett was black, something she said millions of others didn’t know either, Hannity asked if she would like to address the former President Obama advisor directly.
“Here’s what I have to say. Let’s talk about it. Let’s really turn this into a teachable moment,” she said, looking directly into the camera. “We need to talk about race and everything that’s connected to it, including not knowing that someone who looks like me…didn’t know she was African-American. I assumed since she was from Iran and lived in Iran for a long time…they don’t like the idea of American Exceptionalism,” she said of Jarrett and President Obama. “They like that every culture has its own way of thinking. That’s kind of a globalist way of thinking.”
After getting back on track following an anti-Iran tangent, Barr once again looked at the camera. “Valerie, let’s discuss this. Don’t assume that you know what I meant because I don’t think you do know what I meant.”
“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. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding that caused. I’m sorry that you feel harmed and hurt. For that I apologize. I never meant to hurt anyone or say anything about an entire race of people, which I think 30 years of my work can attest to.” She then added that Jarrett “needs a new haircut.”
Hannity had another question — whether Barr would return to Twitter — and she responded in the negative: “My kids took me off Twitter forever.”