Valerie Jarrett Responds to Roseanne Barr’s Racist Tweets in MSNBC Everyday Racism in America Clip


Valerie Jarrett, former White House advisor to President Barack Obama, just responded for the first time to a racist message Roseanne Barr directed at her. Jarrett had already been scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s Everyday Racism in America town hall with hosts Joy Reid and Chris Hayes when news broke of Barr’s tweet, which resulted in swift backlash and the cancelation of Barr’s ABC sitcom.

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“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I’m fine,” Jarrett said in a clip of the show, which airs tonight. “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 walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody clinging to their purse or want to cross the street or every Black parent I know who has to sit down and have a conversation — the talk, as we call it — those ordinary examples of racism that happen every day.”

Barr’s tweet has since been deleted but, according to Politico, it read: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr later apologized.

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“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. Walt Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger added in a tweet: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

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In another clip released ahead of tonight’s town hall, which takes place on the same day 8,000 Starbucks closed for race sensitivity training following the arrest of two black men, Jarrett talks about the role the president plays in the national dialogue about racism.

“Tone does start at the top and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country, but I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility, too,” she said. “It’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be. People on the inside have to push hard and people on the outside have to listen.”


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