Brow Beat

Valerie Jarrett, Subject of Roseanne Barr’s Racist Tweet, Calls It a “Teaching Moment”

Civic leader Valerie Jarrett attends the United State of Women Summit on May 5, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Valerie Jarrett. Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Valerie Jarrett, who served as the senior advisor to president Barack Obama, says she is “fine” after being the subject of a racist tweet by Roseanne Barr on Tuesday. Barr just happened to make the deplorable comment (“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”) the same day as MSNBC’s planned town hall event Everyday Racism in America, which was inspired by an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April. Jarrett, who is black, was in attendance at the town hall, and she was, naturally, asked about Barr’s tweet.

Here’s what she had to say:

I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. The person who’s walking down the street, minding their own business, and they see somebody cling to their purse or wanna cross the street, or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, “The Talk,” as we call it.

As you say, those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day. And I think that’s why I’m so glad to be here this evening talking with all of you.

Jarrett also said that she supports ABC’s cancellation of Roseanne and that Disney CEO Bob Iger called her before the network publicly announced the decision. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey released a statement this afternoon that simply said, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”