Nearly a month after ABC canceled Roseanne Barr’s rebooted 1990s sitcom, a ratings smash hit, in response to a racist remark the comic posted on Twitter, the disgraced 65-year-old has spoken out for the first time. Barr was interviewed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom she’s been friends with for more than 20 years. Their discussion was recorded the day after ABC canceled her show, but was just Sunday released by Boteach as an episode of his podcast.
In the interview, Barr breaks down and sobs as she tries to explain how she ended up comparing Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman and former White House aide to then-President Barack Obama, to an ape — a remark she initially defended as a “joke.” Barr stood by her claim that that tweet was fueled by her use of Ambien, the prescription sleep aid, and added that a sense of political disagreement also under-pinned her remark.
“I horribly regret it. Are you kidding? I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything,” she continued. “And I said to God, ‘I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because I know I’ve done wrong. I’m going to accept what the consequences are,’ and I do, and I have,” Barr, through tears, told Boteach.
“And I’ve made myself a hate magnet, and as a Jew, it’s just horrible. It’s horrible.” Listen to the full interview below.
Barr goes on to say she was unaware that Jarrett is African American. “I thought she was white. “I didn’t know she was black and I cop to it,” she said she told ABC executives when they called to inquire about why she posted such a hateful comment on social media. She said the remark “didn’t mean what they think I meant,” when Boteach questioned whether she believed all people, regardless of race or faith, are created equal in the image of God.
She continued standing by previous claims that she is not a racist. “I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. But I’m not stupid, for God’s sake,” she said. “I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that.”
But Barr admitted that her remark was ignorant and hurtful to people. “I have to face that it hurt people,” she said. “When you hurt people, even unwillingly, there’s no excuse. I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses. But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”
In an interview with ABC News, Boteach seemed to suggest that Barr had shown deep remorse. “The fact that she is prepared, after having lost her show, which is quite a price to pay, to put out such a deeply moving and contrite apology, I think shows her humanity.” Boteach added that he thinks “all people can learn from Roseanne’s moral courage in the raw anguish and emotion that she is prepared to show the public in trying to repent.”
For more on the story, watch the video below.
Read the full story at ABC News.