The woman who inadvertently played a significant role in Roseanne‘s cancellation Tuesday has weighed in on the controversy, calling Roseanne Barr‘s racist tweet about her something worth turning into “a teaching moment.”
Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Obama, was the subject of what Barr later called a “bad joke” that described Jarrett — who is black and was born in Iran — as a combination of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. The Roseanne star was contributing to an anti-Obama Twitter thread Tuesday when she made the offensive statement, for which she later apologized. ABC soon cancelled the revived sitcom, with network president Channing Dungey calling the tweet “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”
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As it turns out, Jarrett was scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s Everyday Racism in America town hall special, which streamed Tuesday online and will air at 9/8c on the cable news network. During the broadcast, she was asked about Barr’s tweet.
“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I’m fine,” Jarrett said, pivoting the conversation to reflect the average American. “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 a 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.”
Press PLAY on the video below to hear Jarrett’s full answer, then hit the comments with your thoughts.