Disgraced TV star Roseanne Barr has denied she is a racist in her first television interview since being fired over a controversial tweet.
Barr was fired by ABC in May after comparing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and a “Planet of the Apes” actor.
But, in an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Barr claimed: “I didn’t know she was African-American.”
She said her tweet was a political statement rather than a racial one, adding: “I was so sad that people thought it was racist.”
When given a number of opportunities to apologise directly to Ms Jarrett, Barr said: “I’m so sorry you thought I was racist, and that you thought my tweet was racist.
“I’m sorry that you feel harmed and hurt. I never meant that and I apologise for saying anything negative about an entire race of people.”
However, Barr also told Hannity: “I am a creative genius, and this is not a good feeling for an artist to be treated this way, and it’s not a good feeling for a citizen, either.”
The comedian said she was “shocked” that “everybody started saying I was racist, which is like the worst thing you can call a Jewish person, especially one like me that worked with Holocaust survivors”.
I understand it’s a joke, but can you see why some people think comparing a black woman to Planet of the Apes might be racist and find the Muslim Brotherhood reference to be conspiratorial and Islamophobic?
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) May 29, 2018
“It seems words matter more than actions these days but actions should matter more than words. My actions over 30 years, I’ve always been against abuse of power, against all marginalised groups.”
With her sacking by ABC, the network also scrapped Roseanne’s sitcom, a re-boot of the series that originally ran for almost a decade from 1988.
“I made a mistake. It cost me everything, my life’s work. I paid the price for it,” she said.
She also repeated her claim that she was under the influence of alcohol and sedatives at the time she posted the tweet.
Barr has been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and the return of her show, which tells the story of a white, working class family in Illinois, was seen as a reflection of the mood of many who voted for him.
She told Hannity: “How would you like it to be sitting in a room with 25 people who think Trump is the worst thing that’s ever happened to the United States.”
ABC, which had been criticised for signing a deal with someone well known for controversial remarks on social media, was praised for its swift action in removing her.
Mr Trump, who had celebrated the comeback ratings for Barr at a campaign rally in March, reacted to her dismissal by complaining that he had never received an apology “for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC”.
ABC has since confirmed it will broadcast a spin-off called “The Connors” – featuring cast members including John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf – after Barr relinquished any creative or financial involvement.