Roseanne Barr Blames Ambien for Tweet That Got Her Show Canceled

Roseanne Ambien
Barr says she was under the influence of a sleep aid when she wrote the tweet that ended her show's revival. Getty

Roseanne Barr says she was under the influence of a sleep aid when she wrote the tweet that ended her show's revival.

In one of multiple apologies the comedian issued after ABC abruptly canceled her eponymous series, Barr said she was on Ambien when she referred to Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Obama, as "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby."

The tweet was later deleted, but a screenshot of the post was widely shared, and a firestorm erupted.

"It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible," she wrote. "I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but...don’t defend it please."

Ambien is a widely prescribed sleep aid that has been criticized for the "hangover effect" it appears to have on some users, as well as for the strange behavior some exhibit after taking it. 

Barr is also not the first to use what has come to be known as the "Ambien defense."

Charlie Saine, of North Carolina, was accused of assaulting his wife and shooting at police after having three to four drinks and taking Ambien in January 2014. He was initially charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon but was acquitted in March 2016 after using the "Ambien defense."

In 2014, Robert Kennedy's daughter, Kerry Kennedy, was acquitted of "drugged driving" after testifying that she took an Ambien pill by mistake, and was unable to remember what had happened. A doctor testified that Ambien can cause sleep driving or "zombiism."

Barr has not elaborated on her use of Ambien since first tweeting about it.

Among her multiple apologies, Barr said sorry to the show staff and cast who lost their jobs as a result of the Twitter rant.

"Don’t feel sorry for me, guys!!" she tweeted late Tuesday. "I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet."

Actors Michael Fishman and Sara Gilbert both took to Twitter to condemn their co-star's remarks.

"Roseanne's recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least," wrote Gilbert, who played Darlene Conner.

Actor Michael Fishman, who plated D.J. Conner, echoed his on-screen sister's statements.

"Our cast, crew, writers, and production staff strived for inclusiveness, with numerous storylines designed to reflect inclusiveness," Fishman said. "The words of one person do not exemplify the thinking of all involved."

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