Roseanne Barr blames Ambien drugs for racist tweet

Trump, manufacturer weigh in on controversy

NEW YORK — The maker of Ambien said Wednesday that “racism is not a known side effect” after Roseanne Barr cited the insomnia drug in explaining the tweet that led ABC to cancel her show.

Hours after ABC pulled the plug on “Roseanne” because of her offensive tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett — and quickly breaking a promise to stay off Twitter — the comedian was busy posting on the social media platform.

Barr tweeted that what she did was unforgivable and urged supporters not to defend her. She said of the Jarrett tweet, “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting.” The tweet that discussed “ambien tweeting” has been taken down.

The drug maker Sanofi took to social media to say that “while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Barr later tweeted that she has had odd experiences while taking the drug late at night. “I blame myself, not Ambien,” she tweeted.

After not mentioning Barr’s firing in a campaign-style rally in Tennessee Tuesday night, President Donald Trump broke his silence on Twitter. He noted that Robert Iger, chief executive of ABC parent Walt Disney Co., called Jarrett to tell her that ABC did not tolerate Barr’s comments.

“Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC,” Trump wrote. “Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
Trump reveled in the success of “Roseanne” after Barr’s character in the show came out as a supporter of his presidency.

On Wednesday afternoon, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that tweet was meant to point out media bias against him, not support Barr. Sanders faulted some networks for not covering Trump’s signing Wednesday of legislation giving terminally ill patients the right to try unapproved drugs.

She also faulted Iger for not apologizing to Trump after ESPN personality Jemele Hill called Trump a “white supremacist.”

“Roseanne” was an instant hit when it returned this spring after a two-decade hiatus. But after Barr’s tweet that likened Jarrett, who is black and Iranian, to a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes,” ABC canceled the show in a one-sentence statement from network entertainment president Channing Dungey. She called it “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

Barr’s agent also dropped her and several services pulled “Roseanne” reruns.

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