In a characteristically unpredictable and rambling one-hour interview with Sean Hannity Thursday night, Roseanne Barr discussed the infamous tweet that got her fired by ABC and told Hannity what she’d say to Valerie Jarrett if given a chance to talk to her in person.
The interview is Barr’s first sit-down since being fired by ABC for describing Jarrett, who was born in Iran and is part African-American, as a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.” Barr has apologized repeatedly for the tweet and insists she didn’t even realize that Jarrett is black.
“You could have knocked me over with a feather when they said she was African-American. I thought she was Middle Eastern,” said Barr, adding, “Her skin tone is like mine, and I’m brown. I didn’t know she was African-American.”
The tweet was meant to be political rather than racial, she insisted. “I assumed because she was from Iran and lived in Iran for such a long time, and writes about how she and Barack Obama hung out for a long time, and the reason they were so tight and such friends is because they don’t like the idea of American exceptionalism.”
Her reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, she suggested, partly stems from her defense of Israel. “I will always be friends with Israel,” she said she told studio execs, citing the fact that she is a Jew and has family who lives there.
In response to Hannity asking her what she’d say to Jarrett if given the chance, Barr gave the definition of a non-apology.
“I’m so sorry that you thought that I was racist and you thought that my tweet was racist, because it wasn’t, it was political,” said Barr. “I’m sorry that you feel harmed and hurt. I never meant that and for that I apologize. I never meant to hurt anybody or say anything negative about an entire race of people.” She added later, “Plus, I’d tell her she needs a new haircut.”
Barr also addressed a wild video on the Jarrett tweet she posted on YouTube last week in which she screams, “I THOUGHT THE B**** WAS WHITE!” She told Hannity that she was genuinely frustrated and thought the whole thing was funny, so she posted it.
At one point in the interview, Barr got emotional when describing her initial fear of going outside because she thought everyone believed she was a racist. “I live on an island where it’s all brown people,” she quipped. “To be misunderstood is the worst thing,” she said.
But when she did finally start to go out in public again, she found far more support from people than she’d felt before. Many, she said, rushed up to her to tell her they felt what had happened to her was “not balanced” compared to others who had done similar things. Here’s a clip of the moment from BuzzFeed:
She also stressed that her life demonstrates that she’s not racist, including her mixed family and her presidential run in 2012 representing the Socialist Party’s black caucus.
Barr also addressed her much-publicized “mental health” issues, saying that she’d been able to integrate her “multiple personalities” in the past through therapy. Asked about the alleged sexual abuse she suffered as a child, she said she has a “different view” now of it. As for whether any of that has influenced some of her more “crazy” moments, she suggested that it has.