Roseanne Barr: A timeline of career controversies

Roseanne Barr has spent decades as a successful comedian and actress, winning a Golden Globe and Emmy for her turn as Roseanne Conner in the original run of ABC’s sitcom bearing her name. For nine seasons from 1988 to 1997, “Roseanne” made Barr a household name, building off of her “domestic goddess” brand of comedy.

>> Read more trending news

Barr’s success hasn’t been linear, however. A tumultuous marriage during the run of her show, as well as failed attempts at a talk show, a reality show and a political run, followed by the racist tweet that led to the cancellation of the 2018 “Roseanne” reboot, have also marked  her career.

Here are some career lows for actress, TV producer, politician and comedian.

1990: Marriage to Tom Arnold

Barr married stand-up comic Tom Arnold on Jan. 20, 1990, not long after divorcing her first husband and father of three of her children, Bill Pentland. Arnold and Barr had a public affair two years before and had been inseparable. According to a 1990 Vanity Fair profile on the couple, Arnold fired many people on Barr's team, taking over duties as a manager, producer and co-writer of her stand-up material.

The marriage was a frequent topic in the tabloids, with the tumultuous relationship spilling onto the “Roseanne” set amid allegations of overspending and tyranny on set. They divorced in 1994.

1990: Spitting after singing the National Anthem

Barr is not known as a singer, but in 1990, she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds baseball game at Jack Murphy Stadium. After screeching the anthem, Barr appeared to grab her crotch and spit, an action seen as disrespectful to many. 

Years later, Barr said she started the song too high, leading to the screechy sound.

"I was singing in my act at the time – and I am a good singer – I was flattered and fully intended to sing a good version of the song," she told The Washington Post in 2015.

“I started too high. I knew about six notes in that I couldn’t hit the big note. So I just tried to get through it, but I couldn’t hear anything with 50,000 drunk (expletive) booing, screaming ‘you fat (expletive),’ giving me the finger and throwing bottles at me during the song they ‘respect’ so much.”

2012: Failed presidential run

When Barr announced she was running for president in 2012, she created a four-way race for the Green Party nomination for the office. After making the announcement on Twitter in February, she repeated the announcement on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in August. Barr couldn't get enough votes for the party, however, and lost to Jill Stein. After she lost the Green Party nomination, she reportedly used transphobic language to criticize Stein.

Barr ran and won on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, but only got 0.05 percent of the popular vote in the election.

Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC

Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC

2009: Hitler photo shoot

In July 2009, Barr posed as Adolf Hitler in "Heeb," a Jewish culture magazine. Barr, who is Jewish, reportedly posed as the Nazi Germany leader at her own request, wearing a swastika and mustache. In the photos, Barr poses with a pan of burned gingerbread men, referred to in the article titled "That Oven Feelin'" as "burnt gingerbread 'Jew Cookies.'"

Barr defended the photos on her blog, saying, "Hitler thought he was being really manly 'cleaning Germany up' by burning people in ovens. I was making fun of him, not his victims.

“My characature (sic) of him very aptly imitates the ‘man with a godly mission’ pose that he struck in all the early photographs taken of him. ...

“He killed my whole family, it is true, but he is also dead, and I, a Jewish woman am still alive to make fun of him, and I will continue to make fun of the little runt for the rest of my life!”

The uproar caused the magazine's editor-in-chief to defend the photos, saying, "Heeb is a satirical Jewish culture magazine that interrogates stereotypes and ideas (hopefully in creative ways) that many hold sacred in order to represent the complex and nuanced perspectives that many Jews have about their identities."

2018: Tweets on Parkland shooting and Valerie Jarrett

Twitter has gotten Barr in hot water more than once throughout her career. She’s been accused of transphobia and Islamophobia in some of her tweets on the platform, which she has quit and returned to multiple times.

On March 27, Barr tweeted a reply to an alleged David Hogg conspiracy theorist that read "NAZI SALUTE." Hogg is a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and was pictured at a March for Our Lives rally raising a fist. She later tweeted that the photos was doctored, but that tweet was also deleted.

The proverbial nail in the coffin for Barr’s sitcom career appeared to come from her May 29 tweet about Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett, in which she wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had baby=vj.”

The tweet compared Jarrett, a black woman, to apes, a comparison with racist history.

Barr deleted the tweet and apologized "for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks," but it was too late. Hours later, Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, canceled the upcoming 2nd season of the "Roseanne" reboot.