Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to President Barack Obama, responded to actress Roseanne Barr’s comment referring to her as an “ape” on Tuesday, saying ABC made the right decision in canceling its hit sitcom starring the actress.
"First of all, I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. 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 said during a town hall on MSNBC called “Everyday Racism in America.”
When asked if ABC made the right call in canceling the sitcom “Roseanne,” Jarrett said that the network did and that Bob Iger, the chief executive officer of Disney, had called her before the announcement. Disney is the corporate owner of ABC.
Iger apologized, Jarrett said, adding that he told her there would be zero tolerance for that type of comment.
“He wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show,” she said.
ABC announced Tuesday that it was canceling the show after Barr referred to Jarrett as a "child" of the Muslim Brotherhood and "Planet of the Apes" in a tweet posted Tuesday. She later deleted the tweet.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," read a statement from ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey.
Barr later apologized on her Twitter account.
Jarrett said that while social media can sometimes be used as a force for good, “it can also dehumanize because it’s distant. You don’t have to look at the faces you’re attacking."
She also said Americans have to talk about "those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day."
"That’s why I’m so glad to be here this evening talking to all of you."
Jarrett referred to the racial bias education taking place at Starbucks locations across the country Tuesday afternoon, and said she hopes that the company’s decision will be an example for others.
“Hopefully, they’re leading by example and other companies will see they have to do the same. Disney did that today,” she said.