Roseanne Barr Sheds More Light on the Behind-the-Scenes Sexism on ‘Roseanne’
Norm Macdonald took to Twitter late Sunday night to deliver a long missive about comedians unfairly labeled “crazy” and “difficult” and singled out his former boss Roseanne Barr as a particularly perfect example of a comedic genius who had to deal with sexism on an everyday basis during Roseanne’s run throughout the ’90s. Macdonald concluded his stream of tweets by calling Roseanne “a true feminist in a world of false ones” and “a genius who is being wasted,” and yesterday Barr responded to Macdonald with both gratitude and some interesting details about the level of misogyny she endured during her time on her show from the writing staff and network execs. Here’s Barr’s response in full, edited for clarity:
Norm, I’m so very touched by your words. I was a working class woman comic in the classist racist sexist lions’ den of imbeciles. It was the level of jokes that I hated — mostly stolen from comics or seen on other TV shows for ages — no creativity no thought. That was the worst blow of all the sexist blows I took — they had to denigrate me as they took my money — because pimp mentality. Pimpin’ ain’t easy, I guess. Hard to freshen rehashed stereotypes for viewers they “flew over” and despised like they despised me. Their jokes were not funny. They were cheap, rehashed classist and sexist and RACIST bullshit. I pushed for black characters and the writing would come down to characters named “Juanita Goldberg” so the jokes could be anti-Hispanic mixed with “coon jokes” from 1922. I came back, but the network people had changed — they were all female (because of me) and all of them hated feminism. It was amazing to see.
The most amazing part is that they continue to erase my work and accomplishments, yet call themselves “feminists.” It’s hilarious! They hate me because I have ideas. They still help themselves to them freely, too. They have turned down 10 pitches from me — then after turning down ALL pitches from me, two years later, my rejected ideas show up on new shows. I won’t pitch anymore.
Norm, I’ll come back when/if I get my own network, or something I wrote gets looked at — if I wrote it — NO NETWORK will read it. There’s so much dirt, lies, blacklisting, and filth that I was lucky to live. People I mentored denigrate me daily from their mansions. The people that were able to take advantage of the social doors I personally kicked down have shown themselves to be vacuous misogynists. For a while, I wanted revenge/acknowledgement, but now, I’m happy to be free of the mental abuse that women creators still face. “Hollywood can kiss my happy rich black ass.” – Richard Pryor.