Barr blames Ambien for tweet; drug maker replies
NEW YORK (AP) — The maker of Ambien said Wednesday that “racism is not a known side effect” after Roseanne Barr cited the insomnia drug in explaining the tweet that led ABC to cancel her show.
Hours after ABC pulled the plug on “Roseanne” because of her offensive tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett — and quickly breaking a promise to stay off Twitter — the comedian was busy posting on the social media platform.
Barr tweeted that what she did was unforgiveable and urged supporters not to defend her. She said of the Jarrett tweet, “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting.”
The drug maker Sanofi took to social media to say that “while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
Barr later tweeted that she has had odd experiences while taking the drug late at night. “I blame myself, not Ambien,” she tweeted.
After not mentioning Barr’s firing in a campaign-style rally in Tennessee Tuesday night, President Donald Trump broke his silence on Twitter. He noted that Robert Iger, chief executive of ABC parent Walt Disney Co., called Jarrett to tell her that ABC did not tolerate Barr’s comments.
“Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC,” Trump wrote. “Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
Trump reveled in the success of “Roseanne” after Barr’s character in the show came out as a supporter of his presidency.
“Roseanne” was an instant hit when it returned this spring after a two-decade hiatus. But after Barr’s tweet that likened Jarrett, who is black, to a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes,” ABC canceled the show in a one-sentence statement from network entertainment president Channing Dungey. She called it “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”
Barr’s agent also dropped her and several services pulled “Roseanne” reruns.
Jarrett, who said she was “fine” after the slur, urged in an MSNBC special Tuesday about racism that the incident become a teaching moment.
“Tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country,” Jarrett said. “But I also think that every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be.”
Barr showed no signs of abandoning Twitter, engaging in a series of tweets that apologized to those who lost their jobs because of the “Roseanne” cancellation and expressed remorse she was being branded a racist. While asking not to be defended, she retweeted comments from supporters that attacked ABC and complained that conservatives are treated more harshly than liberals for their behavior.