Former Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett says Roseanne Barr‘s racist tweet about her should be turned into a “teaching moment.”
Jarrett weighed in on the shocking language for the first time during an MSNBC town hall called “Everyday Racism in America” that aired just hours after Barr referred to Jarrett as an “ape” on Twitter.
“First of all, I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment,” Jarrett said. “I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers coming to their defense.”
Jarrett also said she thought ABC made the right decision in canceling Barr’s revival sitcom, Roseanne, on Tuesday, amid severe blowback over the star’s comments.
The former Obama advisor added that Bob Iger, the chief executive officer of Disney, which owns ABC, called her ahead of the cancellation announcement to apologize.
“He wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show,” she said, adding that Iger told her there would be zero tolerance for those types of comments.
ABC announced Tuesday afternoon that it was canceling the hit show, which was the no. 1 scripted series of the season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” president of ABC Entertainment Channing Dungey said in a statement.
Shortly before that, show writer Wanda Sykes, apparently reacting to Barr’s tweet, announced that she would no longer be a part of the revival.
The backlash has been fierce after Barr, who has been outspoken in her support of President Donald Trump, tweeted a since-deleted attack on Jarrett, who is black, during a racist Twitter rant overnight Monday.
“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj,” Barr wrote, using Jarrett’s initials in response to a tweeted conspiracy theory about the Obama administration.
Barr later apologized to Jarrett and announced that she was “leaving Twitter.”