Roseanne Barr Tuesday evening criticized ABC for canceling “Roseanne,” killing off her Roseanne Conner character on the premiere of “The Conners,” its successor series, and having her die by an opioid overdose.
“While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of “The Conners,” all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne’s cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel `Roseanne’ by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show,” Barr and her Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said in a statement.
“This was a choice the network did not have to make. `Roseanne’ was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord.
“The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.
“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.
“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.
“Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character — a woman — who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of `Roseanne’ is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”
There was no immediate response to an email sent to ABC’s publicists for “The Conners” late Tuesday night.
ABC canceled the reboot of “Roseanne” May 29, hours after Barr posted a racist tweet. The nine-episode series was television’s most-watched series during the 2017-18 season.
ABC announced on June 21 that it had ordered a 10-episode spinoff of “Roseanne” with all of the major cast members except Barr.