"I thought she's been a hot mess for a long time and I can't believe she was able to get to this point before it came crashing down," Retta tells PEOPLE

By Natalie Stone
May 31, 2018 05:04 PM
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When Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet earlier this week, leading to the cancellation of the Roseanne reboot, Retta was far from surprised.

“I thought she’s been a hot mess for a long time and I can’t believe she was able to get to this point before it came crashing down,” Retta, 48, told PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle for an episode of The Jess Cagle Interview.

“It’s one of those things: out of sight, out of mind. I hadn’t been hearing about her and then the next thing I heard was the show was being rebooted. Even though in the back of my mind I had a thing where I was like, ‘Didn’t she say some crazy s— a little while ago?’ But I kind of just let it go. Then I watched the first episode and I was like, ‘This is really well written,’ and so I kind of just let it go. … I totally just let it go. And then someone brought up something to me and I was like, ‘Ew, oh,’ ” the Good Girls star shared.

“And I remember taking it off my DVR just because I was like I can’t support it, and then this happened,” she added. “That’s who she is.”

Barr, 65, prompted the cancellation of season 2 of the Roseanne revival earlier this week when she likened former Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to an “ape” in a tweet that she later deleted. She has since claimed that she didn’t know Jarrett is black.

Barr also apologized to Jarrett, writing, “@ValerieJarrett I want to apologize to you. I am very sorry to have hurt you. I hope you can accept this sincere apology!”

The actress claimed she was “Ambien tweeting” on Monday when she made the attack on Jarrett, tweeting, “guys I did something unforgiveable [sic] so do not defend me.”

“It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien-tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible,” she said. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but… don’t defend it please. ty.”

Reflecting on the show’s success prior to it’s cancellation, Retta said she believes “the reason why it was doing so well was because people were just dying to get back to a place where we weren’t in the situation we’re in now.”

“They just wanted to feel like that. And I was like, ‘Yeah, but was she crazy then too when we gave her the viewership that we gave her?’ There was no internet to know how crazy and racist and obnoxious and ew she was,” she said. “And now we know.”

Had the show — which fans and celebrities are now calling to be brought back as a spin-off without Barr — not been cancelled, Retta still wouldn’t have gotten involved if the ABC sitcom approached her.

When asked by Cagle what she “wouldn’t be caught dead in,” Retta said with a laugh, “An episode of Roseanne.”

Retta’s memoir So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know is on sale now.