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ABC cancels Roseanne following “abhorrent, repugnant” comment from Roseanne Barr

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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

The new Roseanne might have killed it in the ratings, but that doesn’t mean it’s immortal. ABC has confirmed that Roseanne is canceled following a racist Twitter tirade from star Roseanne Barr, which ABC president Channing Dungey described in a statement as “repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

Roseanne’s revival has long been overshadowed by its star’s vocal political opinions. Barr is a Trump supporter who has embraced and amplified conspiracy theories on Twitter, and who has a history of comparing black women to apes. So when she went on Twitter on Tuesday morning to amplify a few conspiracy theories and to say that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked like “the muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby,” it was not exactly out of character for her.

But none of her previous behavior has had a hugely detrimental effect on the ratings success of the Roseanne revival, which was confirmed for a second season (the sitcom’s 11th season overall) within days of its debut. Now that second season has apparently fallen victim to its star’s politics.

Barr’s tweets from May 29 appear to have been a tipping point for those behind the scenes. In a tersely worded statement on Twitter posted within a few hours of Barr’s tweet about Jarrett, writer and consulting producer Wanda Sykes announced that she would not be working on Roseanne’s second season.

Sykes did not comment explicitly on Barr’s tweets in her resignation announcement, but Sara Gilbert — who plays Darlene on the show and is a co-executive producer — has described Barr’s tweets as “abhorrent.” She added, “This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.”

And ICM Partners, Barr’s agency, announced that it was dropping her as a client, Variety reports. “We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM Partners said in a statement. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”

Sykes’s resignation came less than two weeks after the Roseanne revival’s co-showrunner Whitney Cummings announced that she wouldn’t be returning to the show next season either. “Working on Roseanne was a surreal, incredible experience,” Cummings tweeted. “Due to work commitments and my tour schedule, I’m gonna have to watch the Conners from the sidelines next season. It was an honor to work with such an incredibly talented group of actors, writers and crew. Harvey Levin, you can stop calling my cell phone now.”

Following Barr’s Twitter spree, multiple figures demanded that ABC take action, including Rev. Al Sharpton. ABC seems to have heard the critics and taken swift action by canceling the series.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” said Dungey, “and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Although Barr apologized for her comments and said that she will be leaving Twitter, she has yet to comment on the cancellation.

Update: This story has been updated to note that ICM Partners has dropped Barr.