John Goodman Defends Roseanne Barr After Racist Tweet: "I Felt Bad for Her"
The Roseanne revival was canceled in 2018 in response to the comedian's offensive post.
Within a single year, Roseanne returned to our TV screens and then went off the air once again. The sitcom's original run of nine seasons lasted from 1988 to 1997. Then, in 2018, the working-class comedy was revived for a tenth season with much of the main cast returning. But, its second life was a short one, thanks to a tweet that star and series creator Roseanne Barr posted about Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to former president Barack Obama. Though she later denied that the tweet had any racist intent, Roseanne was promptly canceled after only two months and nine episodes amid backlash. The show later returned as The Conners, without Barr behind the scenes or in front of the camera.
The disgraced comedian went on to receive public support from her on-screen husband, John Goodman. And in a new interview, the actor behind Dan Conner confirmed that has no regrets about defending his former co-star. Read on to find out why.
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Barr's tweet was widely denounced and criticized.
In May 2018, Barr posted a tweet about Jarrett, who is Black, which read, "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = VJ".
ABC took swift action and canceled Roseanne the next day. Then-president of ABC Entertainment Channing Dungey said in a statement (via People), "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
Barr apologized for her tweet and explained her reasoning for posting it multiple times, including soon after the backlash began. She tweeted, "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me—my joke was in bad taste."
She claimed that she didn't know Jarrett was Black, and tweeted, "i thought she was saudi." She said in another tweet, "i honestly thought she was Jewish and Persian-ignorant of me for sure, but…i did." Barr also said that she was on Ambien when she posted the tweet about Jarrett.
Goodman defended Barr.
Three months after the scandal, Goodman addressed it—briefly—in an interview with The Sunday Times.
"I was surprised at the response," the actor said in August 2018 (via Variety). "And that's probably all I should say about that … I know for a fact that she's not a racist."
Goodman also shared that he had sent Barr an email thanking her for giving up the rights to Roseanne so that the show could continue on as The Conners without her. He did not hear back, however. "She was going through hell at the time," he said. "And she's still going through hell." Goodman explained that the show's cancelation made him "broken-hearted" and that he felt depressed.
"I'm a depressive anyway, so any excuse that I can get to lower myself, I will," he said. "But that had a great deal to do with it, more than I wanted to admit."
Barr thanked her former co-star for his support.
After Goodman's interview with The Sunday Times, Barr expressed her appreciation on Twitter.
"I thank John Goodman for speaking truth about me, despite facing certain peril from producers and network," she posted.
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Years later, he doesn't regret it.
In a new interview with Variety, Goodman explained that he didn't regret his positive comments about Barr.
"At the time I remember going to some kind of junket where they saw the pilot, and then the interviews, and it just turned into attack. And that made me very uncomfortable with them just attacking Roseanne," he said.
The Big Lebowski actor added, "Yeah, I felt bad for her. I just feel terrible about the whole thing. We had a great time. And I love her. She's just her own person."
Asked if he would work with her again, the 71-year-old said, "I don't know. If she'd liked to… I just don't know. I miss her. I wish her well."
He missed having her on the set.
In a 2019 interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Goodman talked about feeling the absence of Barr on the set of the sitcom now known as The Conners.
"It was really odd," he said of his longtime co-star being gone. "We used to have a lot of fun on the show, and I really missed her this year."
He also again brought up Barr giving up the rights to the show.
"She gave up a lot so that we could do the show," he said. "She gave up all the rights to it. So we didn't have to call ourselves the 'Monners' or the 'Chonners' and invent new characters. But, yeah, she'll always be missed."
The actor joked about Roseanne's character being killed off in relation to Dan dying in the original series finale and then the revival ignoring that plot development.
"That's pretty permanent," he said Roseanne dying of an opioid overdose at the start of The Conners. "I mean, when I died on the show, they just brought me back. 'They're not gonna remember! No one was watching toward the end. He was sleeping.'"
Barr claimed she's the only "canceled" star who's "lost everything."
Barr believes that she was canceled when her sitcom was. That said, she has continued to perform standup comedy and released a new comedy special and documentary earlier this year.
In a February interview with the Los Angeles Times, Barr called the backlash against her a "witch-burning" and said, "I felt like the devil himself was coming against me to try to tear me apart, to punish me for believing in God."
She also compared herself to other "canceled" celebrities, and said, "I'm the only person who's lost everything, whose life's work was stolen, stolen by people who I thought loved me. And there was silence. There was no one in Hollywood really defending me publicly, except for [fellow standup] Mo'nique, who is a brave, close, dear friend."
Barr also recently blamed Roseanne co-star Sara Gilbert for the show being canceled, because Gilbert publicly voiced her disappointment in Barr's tweet about Jarrett after it happened.