Roseanne Barr is a transphobic, conspiracy theory-pushing right-wing radical — with a slot on primetime TV.
Naturally, people have a lot of opinions about the “Roseanne” reboot.
One person who had some thoughts on the reboot was actress and comedian Sarah Silverman.
Silverman tweeted on Thursday night that she “loved” the modernized series and its “familiar feeling of the old but [with] comedy [and] content so totally of this moment, like the angst within close families over politics.”
watched @RoseanneOnABC last night & loved it. That familiar feeling of the old but w comedy & content so totally of this moment like the angst w/in close families over politics. Hope y’all let go of needing art 2 reflect/express only what u yourself feel. That’s not what art’s 4
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) March 29, 2018
What the liberal Silverman didn’t address, though, is Barr’s lengthy list of extreme attitudes and behaviors. The 65-year-old has used her platform to legitimize several far-right conspiracy theories — including Pizzagate and the “cover-up” surrounding the death of Democratic National Convention staffer Seth Rich — and she has routinely peddled transphobic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic rhetoric through her work and social media presence.
Fellow actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani chimed in to remind Silverman what a mess Barr really has been.
Replying to Silverman’s tweet, Nanjiani explained he couldn’t bring himself to watch Barr — “a person who mocks teens whose friends were murdered [and] who traffics in conspiracy theories that damage our world [and] reality.”
Sarah, you know I love you & respect you. I believe who can bring themselves to watch what art is a subjective thing. I can’t bring myself to watch a person who mocks teens whose friends were murdered, who traffics in conspiracy theories that damage our world & reality.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 29, 2018
Nanjiani was referring to a now-deleted tweet Barr posted claiming Parkland teen David Hogg, who’s become a vocal advocate for gun control in the wake of his school’s mass shooting in February, was giving a “Nazi salute” at the March for Our Lives rally. The ridiculous conspiracy theory has been widely debunked by fact-checkers.
In a follow-up tweet, “The Big Sick” star noted that, while he understands Barr is portraying a fictional character on TV, the real Roseanne’s opinions and actions have made it impossible for him to support the sitcom — a view poignantly reiterated in a thoughtful New York Times op-ed from writer and feminist powerhouse Roxane Gay.
I know that’s not her character on the show. But I can’t watch her playing any character. She says David Hogg did the Nazi salute. That’s not political disagreement. It’s wrong. So, I understand your point, but don’t judge ppl for not being able to bring themselves to watch her.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 29, 2018
Silverman responded, “Look — I muted [Roseanne] years ago. But I think the show could [be] good is all.”
Silverman — whose own series on Hulu focuses in part on bridging the gap between red and blue America — said the show is made by “lots of people [she] loves.”
She also noted one particular storyline in the reboot’s premiere she felt was significant: The elder Conners (played by Barr and John Goodman) “resisting, learning,” and then finally “accepting” their grandson’s preference for wearing skirts and nail polish.
That evolution, Silverman wrote, is “how change happens.”
I’m judging?Look- I muted her years ago. But I think the show could b good is all. It’s made by lots of people I❤️ & shows the grandparents reisting/then learning/then accepting stuff thats unfamiliar & therefore scary 2them =How change happens IMOIMOIMO LOVE U
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) March 30, 2018
One refreshing thing about the online exchange? It didn’t ruin a friendship! It didn’t get snarky or mean-spirited!
Their dialogue was civil and respectful, and in the end, they seemed to agree to disagree about the show.
Silverman ended her last message to Nanjiani with, “LOVE U.”
Nanjiani concluded “❤️ you too a lot.”
When it comes to Barr’s bigotry — or any suggestion that one human is worth less than another — we can’t agree to disagree. Her views are wrong and harmful. Full stop.
But when we’re debating with good-intentioned people in our lives who we happen to disagree with, know that even the fiercest debates can still end with heart emojis.