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Listen: Roseanne breaks down in first interview since racist tweet

The Los Angeles Times
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Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Roseanne Barr said she’s already weighing offers to go back in front of the camera barely a month after she was axed at ABC.

One day after Roseanne Barr’s eponymous ABC sitcom was cancelled following a racist tweet, the disgraced comedian did a phone interview with spiritual advisor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. On Sunday, weeks after the cancellation, audio from that conversation was made available to the public.

Though Boteach initially refused to release the interview, the 36-minute conversation was finally uploaded onto the rabbi’s SoundCloud account Sunday morning. A transcript of the conversation was also posted to Facebook.

“It’s really hard to say this, but I didn’t mean what they think I meant,” Barr told Boteach in the audio. “And that’s what so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people. When you hurt people, even unwillingly, there’s no excuse.”

Barr came under fire last month for referring to Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to former President Obama and an African American woman, as if the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.”

“I have black children in my family,” she told Boteach. “I can’t let ’em say these things about that, after 30 years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people. I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. But I’m not stupid, for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person . a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that.”

Since her initial tweet and after the Boteach interview, Barr, who has always prided herself on being provocative and controversial, has continued to take shots at Jarrett, and retweeted one post that called Jarrett “pure evil.”

“I’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid,” she continued to Boteach. “I’m very sorry. But I don’t think that and I would never do that. I have loved ones who are African American, and I just can’t stand it. I’ve made a huge error and I told ABC when they called me.”

Since the tweet, not only has “Roseanne” been cancelled but Barr was dropped from her agency ICM Partners and has had reruns of her show pulled from Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. Last week, ABC greenlighted a “Roseanne” spinoff “The Conners” without her inclusion.

“You have to feel remorse, not just repentance,” Barr told Boteach. “That’s just a step towards feeling remorse. And when you feel remorse you have to follow it with recompense,” she said. “You have to take action in the world — whether it’s through money or other things — to correct your sin. After your heart is unfrozen and after it stops being broken from the pain you caused others, you stop being a robot and you’ve got to come back to God. So it’s remorse, and I definitely feel remorse.”

“I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses,” she continued. “But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”

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