Trump rips Disney CEO Bob Iger for defending Obama aide Jarrett after Roseanne Barr's racist tweet

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump questions why Disney CEO Bob Iger did not apologize to him for "HORRIBLE" statements made on ABC.
  • Iger apologized to former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett for racist tweets from actress Roseanne Barr.
  • The tweets led to the cancellation of the ABC show "Roseanne."
Trump tweets about 'Roseanne' cancellation
Trump tweets about 'Roseanne' cancellation

President Donald Trump criticized Disney CEO Bob Iger on Wednesday for apologizing for Roseanne Barr's racist tweet that led to the cancellation of her hit ABC show, but failing to show remorse about statements made about the president on the network.

In a tweet, Trump acknowledged that Iger apologized to Valerie Jarrett, a black advisor to former President Barack Obama whom Barr compared to an ape. Trump did not address the substance of what Barr tweeted or the cancellation of "Roseanne."

Instead, he noted that Iger "never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC."

Trump tweet: Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that "ABC does not tolerate comments like those" made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn't get the call?

The tweet Wednesday again shows Trump's penchant for jumping into heated racial and cultural matters — often without condemning the racist behavior at issue. Trump drew parallels between white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year and the people who protested against them.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would not worry about the cancellation of "Roseanne," as "we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now."

It is unclear to which comments on ABC that Trump is referring to. Some ABC personalities such as late-night host Jimmy Kimmel have repeatedly criticized the president.

Asked Wednesday about Trump's tweet, Sanders said the president called out "media bias." She added that "no one's defending" what Barr wrote. Sanders said she is unaware if Trump talked to either Iger or Barr.

President Donald Trump as he leaves the White House for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, in Washington D.C on May 29th, 2018.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

The reboot of the sitcom "Roseanne" on ABC gained popularity with Trump backers, as Barr's character supported the president. In March, Trump called Barr to congratulate her on the show. The sitcom was originally broadcast from 1988 to 1997.

In a now-deleted tweet from Tuesday, Barr wrote in reference to Jarrett: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." ABC canceled the show within hours of the message.

In a statement Tuesday announcing the move, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said, "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show." Iger called Jarrett to tell her the show would be canceled, and later expanded on Dungey's statement.

"You can't debate what is morally right," he said in an interview Tuesday with CNBC's David Faber.

Disney did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment on Trump's tweet.

In an internal memo obtained by CNBC on Wednesday, ABC executive Ben Sherwood wrote that the decision to cancel the show "came down to doing what's right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance and civility." He told employees the Barr tweets show the importance of using social media and company platforms "with careful thought, decency and consideration."

He thanked the people who worked on "Roseanne" and apologized for them getting "swept up in all of this."

During an MSNBC special on racism that aired Tuesday, Jarrett called Barr's tweets "a teaching moment."

Barr has since apologized and asked fans not to share messages of support for her. She has still retweeted messages from fans, however.