Even before Roseanne Barr brought her new ABC sitcom crashing down around her with a single racist tweet she’s blaming on sleep meds, she was circled by controversy. It’s hardly the first problematic thing she’s said, and there’s photographic evidence for some of her more shocking behaviors.
Specifically, Roseanne was photographed in 2009, for a magazine called Heeb, wearing a mustache and costume to resemble Adolf Hitler, while eating person-shaped cookies, burnt at the edges. According to People, Roseanne was the one to suggest the theme and defended it as an art piece intended to drive home her statement that tragedies such as the Holocaust are too common.
The photos have been shared around social media since ABC announced a revival of Roseanne, a sitcom that originally ran from 1988 through 1997, and tackled social issues in a way few television programs were doing at the time. Television audiences expressed concern that, with Barr’s history of racially-charged commentary and public stunts ranging from the Hitler photos to a rendition of the national anthem that left viewers shocked, a revival of the show would lose the progressive edge it previously held.
Of course, there was also the concern for many that regardless of the sitcom’s content, viewing it would support Barr, and by extension, her words and actions.
On Thursday, Palestinian-American author and journalist Ali Abunimah found, and tweeted, a Nightline interview from 2011, in which Roseanne Barr says that the burnt people-shaped cookies aren’t meant to represent Jews, but Palestinians.
Watch the video below for her shocking comment:
WATCH! In 2011 @ABC @Nightline asked @TheRealRoseanne about her photo shoot dressed as Hitler putting cookies shaped like Jews in an oven. Roseanne responds: "No it was not Jews it was Palestinians" https://t.co/fiqVijsYzq pic.twitter.com/zsDV0YzUZ5
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) May 31, 2018
In the clip, a reporter says to Barr, “There’s a photo spread of you that maybe pushes the edge a little bit, dressed up with the Hitler mustache, baking cookies in the shape of Jews?”
“No,” Barr replies, “People said it was in the shape of Jews but it wasn’t. It was Palestinians.”
Barr maintains a straight face for only moments before laughing at her own ‘joke.’
This comes immediately after Barr saying that, as a celebrity, she has to choose what things she is ‘allowed’ to talk about, and could be read as a claim that whether jokes about genocide are acceptable depends on what group of people one is talking about. This can be seen in the full clip below.[archiveorg WJLA_20110107_043500_Nightline?start=1620&end=1680 width=640 height=480 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true]
However, to many viewers, it’s one more example of Roseanne Barr considering herself free to rain racist verbal attacks on people of whatever background her sights fall on at a given moment.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com