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White House comes out fighting on Roseanne racism row

media captionWhite House defends Trump's reaction to Roseanne firing

The White House has accused the entertainment industry of "hypocrisy" over its condemnation of Roseanne Barr following a racist tweet.

Its press secretary suggested liberal TV stars suffered no consequences for saying "the most horrible things" about President Donald Trump.

The president himself earlier tweeted to suggest a double standard by TV executives.

Barr said she was considering fighting back after her show was cancelled.

What did the White House say?

On Wednesday, President Trump broke his silence on Barr, who has been one of his most outspoken supporters.

He jabbed on Twitter at Disney chief executive Bob Iger, who apologised to African-American former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett after Barr's Monday night tweet likening her to an ape.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Disney is the parent company of ABC TV network, which on Tuesday dropped the rebooted '90s sitcom "Roseanne" amid a ferocious online backlash against its star.

At the White House daily press briefing, the president's spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, expanded on Mr Trump's tweet.

"The president pointed to the hypocrisy in the media saying the most horrible things about this president and nobody addresses it," said Mrs Sanders.

She said Mr Iger did not say sorry for ESPN presenter Jemele Hill calling Mr Trump a white supremacist. Disney also owns ESPN, a sports channel.

media captionPresident Trump once told supporters Roseanne 'was about us'

The press secretary said no apology was forthcoming either when Joy Behar, a presenter of ABC's The View, mocked Vice President Mike Pence's Christian faith, suggesting he might be mentally ill.

Mrs Sanders also highlighted a "profane rant" by comedian Kathy Griffin against Mr Trump on the same morning show.

"This is a double standard that the president is speaking about," Mrs Sanders concluded, "no one is defending her [Barr's] comments, they're inappropriate."

At the end of the news conference, one reporter shouted: "Where is the president's apology for the things he's said over the years?"

Mrs Sanders walked out without answering.

What is Barr saying?

A day after striking a contrite tone for her tweet suggesting Valerie Jarrett was a cross-breed of Planet of the Apes and the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, the TV personality was in a more defiant mood.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Barr also tweeted at former fellow cast member Michael Fishman, who played her son on the show: "You throw me under the bus. nice!"

Like other cast members, he has condemned her racist tweet.

Hours earlier, Barr said that her tweet had been "unforgiveable" and urged followers not to defend her.

She also blamed the inflammatory post on sleeping pills, saying she had been "ambien tweeting".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But the drug's manufacturer, Sanofi, said in a statement: "While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication."

On Tuesday, Barr apologised to Mrs Jarrett and pledged to give up Twitter.

But the comedian was back on the platform soon after, posting: "I'm tired of being attacked and belittled more than other comedians who have said worse."

What's happening to her show?

A spokesman for Viacom, which owns various networks including Paramount, earlier said it would stop airing old episodes of Roseanne.

The streaming service Hulu also said it would be removing the sitcom from its library.

Her revived show's premiere in March pulled in more than 25 million people, with delayed viewing counted in.

The comedy series won conservative plaudits because Barr plays a supporter of Mr Trump, a group largely ignored by Hollywood.

ABC had renewed it for a second season until the Jarrett tweet.

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Related Topics

  • Racism
  • Twitter
  • Roseanne Barr
  • Donald Trump

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