(SKY NEWS) – Roseanne Barr has apologised for a series of racist tweets, calling her comments a “huge error”, but insisted she “didn’t say black people look like apes”.
The comedian’s TV show was cancelled after she compared African-American businesswoman Valerie Jarrett to the offspring of the “Muslim brotherhood & Planet of the Apes”.
In a candid interview with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who Barr has known for nearly 20 years, she said her comments about the former Obama aide had been “misconstrued”.
She told Boteach: “It’s really hard to say this but, I didn’t mean what they think I meant. And that’s what’s so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people. When you hurt people even unwillingly there’s no excuse….
“I apologise to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”
Sobbing in parts of the interview, she explained: “I have black children in my family. I can’t, I can’t let ’em say these things about that, after thirty years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people.
“I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. But I’m not stupid for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person… a monkey.”
During the half-an-hour podcast, she explains that civil rights leader Martin Luther King is her idol and affirms her commitment to the Torah (part of the Jewish bible).
A vocal advocate of Israel and the Trump administration, Barr’s racist tweets were sent in reply to a post which accused Ms Jarrett of being involved in an Obama administration cover-up concerning Israel and Jewish issues.
Barr said she “horribly regrets” her now-deleted tweets, adding she had now “lost everything” and was ready to “accept the consequences”.
She said: “But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology, or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet”.
Barr, who previously ran for president, blamed the sleeping tablet Ambien for her tweets which were sent in the early hours of the morning on Memorial Day weekend.
Asking for forgiveness, she concluded: “I’m not a racist, I’m an idiot.”
In penance for what she called her “insensitive” comments, she says she has donated money for African-American children’s education charities and made a plea for Ms Jarrett’s telephone number in order to apologise directly.
The comedian also said she would like to apologise to former first lady Michelle Obama who she described as being “irate” over the tweets.
ABC have confirmed that they will be continuing with the production of Roseanne spin-off show – The Conners – which will air in the autumn, but without the 65-year-old actress in the lead role.
Barr has said she agreed to the settlement to save the jobs of 200 cast and crew members.