Two senior-level ABC executives recently said in an interview that they regret firing Roseanne Barr after she made controversial comments in a tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.
The two executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Daily Mail last week that firing Barr “was a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction by ABC’s president and admitted that temporarily suspending Barr may have been a wiser decision.”
Barr’s show was canceled after she wrote about Jarrett on Twitter: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby= vj.”
“We didn’t think it through properly,” one executive said. “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,” the executive continued.
ABC reportedly fears that the show’s replacement, “The Conners,” will be a ratings disaster because Barr’s fan base will not watch “out of loyalty to the actress.”
“They could’ve suspended her from the first few episodes without pay and had her return later on in the season,” another source told the Daily Mail. “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.”
“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,” the second source continued. “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.”