Former television star Roseanne Barr, who lost her eponymously-named show after a racist tweet, will take part on a panel for a documentary about Malcolm X during a civil rights celebration in Alabama later this week. Her planned trip comes as the Trump-supporting comedy actress continues to float racist conspiracy theories.
The movie showing and panel discussion is part of the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, the country’s largest annual civil rights gathering, which commemorates 55 years since the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma which galvanized Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. Numerous presidents, including former President Barack Obama, have attended the jubilee since its inception.
On February 16, Barr appeared as a guest on RedPill78, a live-streamed YouTube show that spreads right-wing conspiracy theories. Barr herself floated and agreed with several Obama-related conspiracy theories, including the “birtherism” theory. Barr also baselessly speculated former First Lady Michelle Obama is transgender and that Donald Trump plans to have Barack Obama arrested.
Latia Parker, a spokesperson for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, told Deep South Voice on February 25 that her organization is not behind the decision to invite Barr, even though the official website lists the panel and the guest panelists, including the actress.
“The Bridge Crossing Jubilee hosts over forty events. Some of the events are different organizations that add events to our calendar,” Parker said. “This event is being sponsored by National Black United Front-Dallas.”
The NBUF chapter’s president, Thomas Muhammad, is the filmmaker behind the documentary, “Malcolm X: An Overwhelming Influence on the Black Power Movement.” Muhammad also served as Barr’s campaign manager when she ran for president on a third party ticket. Neither Muhammad nor his organization responded to calls and emails from DSV.
‘Obama Will Beg for His Kenyan Citizenship Before This Is Over’
During her appearance on the right-wing YouTube program, Barr and the show’s hosts alluded to a fringe theory that Trump is biding his time until he can begin directing federal law enforcement to arrest his political enemies. One caller asked Barr whom she believes the Republican president will lock up first.
“I think Trump is so smart that I think he knows what he’s doing, and he’s playing it so well because he’s also creating theater for the American people,” Barr replied. “Which, wow, he’s giving us a TV show to watch. He has to be very ginger, right, because this whole country could explode. … And I think the person he’s going to arrest first is President Obama.”
The show’s host, who refers to himself using the show’s name, brought up Trump’s recent White House meeting with with Kenyatta Meet, the president of Kenya. For more than a decade, right-wing conspiracy theorists known as “birthers” have spread the false, racist claim that President Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii or elsewhere in the United States, and was thus ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office.
“Remember, Hugh said Obama will beg for Kenyan citizenship before this is over,” Barr said, though she did not explain who “Hugh” is.
Barr and the YouTube host baselessly suggested that Trump and Meet may have been discussing the possibility of prosecuting Obama for unknown reasons. In fact, the meeting related to trade negotiations.
Later in the two-hour conversation, the host brought up another Obama fringe theory, this one about Michelle Obama and comedian Joan Rivers, who died in 2014. The host suggested the Obamas may have had Rivers killed because she threatened to reveal that the former first lady is secretly transgender. Those claims are baseless; Rivers died from complications during a surgery. She had jokingly claimed Michelle Obama was transgender several months earlier, saying that “the most gorgeous women are transgender.”
Right-wing conspiracy theorists cited Rivers’ remark and subsequent death as evidence the Obamas had a secret. On the February 16 YouTube show, the host said he considered it “a little too coincidental” that Rivers “just happened to pass away after making that comment.” Barr said she agreed.
“I thought the exact same thing you just said. … Everybody thought that—all the comedians,” Barr said, though she did not name anyone.
Barr Doubles Down on Raicst ‘Planet of the Apes’ Remark
During the same interview, Barr doubled down on the remarks that got her show cancelled in the first place. In 2018, Barr tweeted that former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman, looked like the “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby.” That tweet evoked centuries of racist depictions of Black people as having apelike qualities. Though the actress apologized, ABC cancelled her hit comedy show, “Roseanne,” which was enjoying a revival after a decades-long hiatus.
On the right-wing YouTube show this month, Barr reiterated her claim that Jarrett looks like a Planet of the Apes character. Barr also falsely suggested her support for Trump, not her tweet, is the real reason she lost her job and her show.
“Harvey Weinstein, he’s up to your standards, right? But you can’t mistake somebody’s race, because I mistook this woman’s race,” Barr said, referring to Jarrett. “I thought she was Iranian, and I didn’t know she was African American. And yes I should have looked it up, blah blah blah. But the picture she looked exactly like the character in the science fiction movie, and it was just a joke.”
Jarrett was born in Iran, but both of her parents are of African descent.
Barr told the right-wing host she rejects the “racist” label.
“Their term for racist and racism is so off the mark. It’s excusing real racism and real racists. So finally after two years I came to the conclusion, I just reject them calling me that. I’m not that, and kiss my fat rich happy ass,” Barr said.
‘I’ve Always Been Into Civil Rights’
Barr, who is Jewish, also used the interview to criticize Jews who she claimed “just use a Jewish surname to get off the hook for the anti-Semitic things they are saying and for communist crap.” She compared Jewish liberals to “black people who collude with white supremacy.”
“They aren’t like me. And I don’t like to be lumped in with them. … There’s more than one kind of a Jew, I always say, like there is more than one kind of any group, good or bad,” Barr said. “… But I know that most of the Jews on the left, they don’t really practice Judaism. They practice, you know, they’re communists. And so, a big target of the communists, like it was with the Nazis, was to marginalize Jewish opinion and silence it. They’re very much the same at their core.”
Barr’s claims ignore the fact that communists and socialists were among the first groups Adolf Hitler rounded up and sent to concentration camps in Nazi Germany.
In the middle of an anti-Democratic spiel, the comic actress did tell the host that she supports civil rights.
“I was very, you know, I’ve always been into civil rights and especially African American civil rights and Native American civil rights and everybody civil rights,” Barr said.
Neither Barr nor her publicist responded to requests for comment on this story.
NBUF is hosting the screening of “Malcolm X: An Overwhelming Influence on the Black Power Movement” and the panel on the Wallace Community College campus in Selma on Saturday, February 29 starting at 1:30 pm EST. Other panelists at the event, which is free and open to the public, include: Jorge Baldor, A. Peter Bailey, John Jackson, Tara White, Malaak Shabazz, Deanna Morton, Charles Maulden, Evans Risher and Bernard Layette.
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