Valerie Jarrett Calls ‘Roseanne’ Cancellation ‘A Teaching Moment’

By Sameer Rao May 30, 2018

Last night (May 29), journalists Joy-Ann Reid and Chris Hayes talked to former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett about Roseanne Barr‘s racist tweet that led to the cancellation of her eponymous ABC show. Barr’s now-deleted tweet called Jarrett a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and "Planet of the Apes."

"I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment," Jarrett said during MSNBC’s "Everyday Racism in America" town hall. "I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense: the person who’s walking down the street, minding their own business, and they see somebody cling to their purse or want to cross the street. Or every Black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation—‘the talk,’ as we call it."

Jarrett, who is Black, also framed Barr’s tweet—just one example of the many racist and anti-Semitic comments she made well before ABC dropped her—within the context of President Donald Trump’s frequent racist rhetoric. "I think [that] tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country," she said. "But I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility, too. And it’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be." 

The attorney added that Disney CEO Bob Iger, who counts ABC among the media properties he oversees, called her before the public announcement to apologize and notify her about the cancellation. 

Watch more of Jarrett’s comments from the town hall: