In a new interview, two senior-level ABC executives say they admit to having second thoughts about firing Roseanne Barr. Barr was famously let go from ABC after posting a racist tweet about Barack Obama's former aide Valerie Jarret, claiming that she looked like "Muslim Brotherhood," mixed with "Planet of the Apes." Barr quickly apologized for the tweet and blamed her actions on the sleeping medication Ambien, but ABC had already made up their decision and canceled the Roseanne revival series. Now, two top ABC executives say that they regret making the decision so quickly.
Back when the news first broke, it divided fans of the Roseanne series. Some fans were/are in her corner, while others are glad that she got fired. Things will more than likely end up getting heated again since The Conners debuts this week. Fans are going to want to see what the show looks like without its lead actress. One ABC executive, who wished to remain anonymous, had this to say about the situation.
"We didn't think it through properly. What Roseanne did was wrong but we shouldn't have rushed to fire her. It was almost a knee-jerk reaction by Ben (Sherwood) and Channing (Dungey) who should have launched an investigation... This would have given them more time to listen to the public, advertisers and cast members to determine the best decision."
An investigation, while it sounds good, would have probably ended up with the same conclusion. Ben Sherwood stood behind his decision early on and is focused on getting The Conners off of the ground. Another executive, who also wished to remain anonymous, spoke out about the decision to fire Roseanne Barr as well. He had this to say.
"They could've suspended her from the first few episodes without pay and had her return later on in the season. I mean the season finale saw Roseanne going to the hospital for knee surgery. While they worked out her fate, her character could have faced serious complications and fought for her life, while simultaneously making Roseanne fight for her career with a national apology tour."
A suspension for Roseanne Barr never really seemed like an option, which is the same for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 director James Gunn. Disney didn't seem willing to put up with a racist tweet from Barr or jokes about pedophilia and rape from Gunn, so they swiftly cut them loose. However, it is interesting to see these quotes from others in the ABC camp. The second source continued and had this to say.
"The morning the racist tweet scandal blew up, Roseanne offered to publicly apologize and do the rounds of every show but Ben and Channing weren't having any of that and wanted her gone. Why not have her front a PSA for the network on racism and cyberbullying? Roseanne kept saying on the call before she was fired, What can I do? What can I do? Fans of her show have watched her character confront prejudice and racism - we could've made this a storyline for her to save the show and redeem her publicly."
While there may be a few people within ABC that feel this way about the Roseanne situation, it's important to note that this news comes from anonymous sources. It's also important to note that The Conners premieres this week, and there's a lot of Roseanne Barr fans who want the spin-off to fail miserably. So far, the first four episodes have been reviewed and the spin-off is already gaining praise, despite of the backlash. You can read more of what the anonymous ABC sources had to say at the The Daily Mail U.K.