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Roseanne had a busy night on Twitter following her show’s cancellation

Her return to Twitter was a confusing mix of apology, defensiveness, and Ambien.

2018 Disney, ABC, Freeform Upfront Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Roseanne Barr has worked hard to do damage control in the aftermath of ABC canceling the revival of Roseanne — but she says her Ambien may have been working even harder.

On Tuesday morning, after garnering public outrage over a bizarre series of tweets, including one racist comparison of former White House staffer Valerie Jarrett to an ape, Barr initially apologized and “left” the platform.

While she was away, ABC canceled Barr’s hit sitcom — despite it being a massive recent success for the network, albeit one with declining ratings — stating simply that Barr’s tweet was “abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values.”

But late Tuesday night and into the wee hours of Wednesday, Barr bounced back, returning to Twitter while alternately apologizing and then defending herself against accusations of racism.

Though Barr seemed penitent, she raised plenty of eyebrows when, in a now-deleted tweet, she claimed a number of strange excuses for her earlier tweet about Jarrett — including blaming Memorial Day and the sleep drug Ambien:

She followed up this puzzler with a few more apology/Ambien tweets that she also then deleted:

Granted, Ambien is known for making people act in erratic ways, and this certainly wouldn’t be the first time the sleep medication has made people act — or been blamed for them acting — in terrible ways. The list of Ambien-related crimes is long and involves everything from domestic violence to setting a submarine on fire. This is, however, perhaps the first time anyone has claimed that Ambien contributed to career-damaging racism.

However, Barr has a long history of propagating racism and conspiracy theories, and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, she seemed to return to her default state and embrace her defenders. She spent most of the evening alternately retweeting defenses of her original racist comment and hand-wringing against the perceived oppression of politically incorrect comedians. She also quickly retweeted and then deleted a faked image, popular among conservative conspiracy-mongers, of Whoopi Goldberg wearing a violent anti-Trump shirt.

Meanwhile, her deleted comments went massively viral and stirred up a whole new debate — about the uses and limits of Ambien in stoking political fires.

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