Roseanne's Most Controversial Real-Life Moments
Roseanne often said that her on-screen persona echoed who she really was. Her self-titled 1988-1997 comedy show, along with other episodic forays, interviews, and guest
performances, never shied away from brutally harsh commentary. Take a look at some of her most controversial real-life moments that have caused plenty of raised eyebrows with the media and fans alike.
1990 “Star-Spangled Banner”
Roseanne's rendition at the Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres game was less than music to people's ears, and is included in Billboard's “10 Worst National Anthem Performances Ever.”. She later blamed it on having difficulty hearing her voice while she sang, and thus being unable to properly temper its range. The bigger outcry, however, was her spitting and grabbing her crotch, which many deemed a mockery of the game of baseball. Despite her saying that players encouraged her to incorporate humor into the performance, no one seemed impressed—and she even received threats for months afterward. Since then, she has provided tamer versions at other events, and tweeted “I think mine was better lowkey,” in response to outcries after Fergie's recent version.
1991 Incest Allegations Against Parents
After the media attention over Roseanne's accusations of childhood sexual abuse against her parents, she told Oprah that she regretted the statements: “And the drugs and the combination of drugs that I was given, which were some strong, strong drugs, I totally lost touch with reality in a big, big way.” This carefully crafted response never entirely retracted the allegations, but pointed towards a misuse of the word “incest.” It also proved to be an interesting reference point relating to Roseanne's own struggles with mental health, given her numerous moments of off, unusual, or antagonistic behavior. Her parents denied the implications, as did her estranged sister, Geraldine, who wrote My Sister Roseanne: The True Story of Roseanne Barr Arnold.
2009 Heeb Magazine photo-shoot
Roseanne has had a roller-coaster history with her views on Judaism, from being born into a Jewish family, to denying it with statements such as “I couldn't wait to breed with non-Jewish people,” to embracing it with controversial fervor. For Heeb Magazine's “That Oven Feelin'” photo-shoot, she dressed as Hitler and posed baking and eating “Jew cookies.” Although a couple of images still remain, the shoot itself is no longer available online.
2010 Blame of LDS Church for Suicide of Marie Osmond's Son
Marie Osmond's adopted son, Michael Blosil, had a history of drug addiction, depression, and a previous suicide attempt. Although his suicide note reportedly did not mention anything about being gay, Roseanne went on a tirade equating his death with the Mormon church's stance against homosexuality. She claimed that he killed himself because he didn't want Marie to suffer, and that he had a gay sister. Roseanne later relented and apologized, then praised Osmond for her strength and courage in moving on. Critics pointed out that, along with her disrespect towards a grieving family, her abrasive manner could possibly prevent others from discussing mental health, sexuality, and suicidal thoughts.
2012 Political Losses and Inflammatory Remarks
Many questioned Roseanne's choice to pursue politics—and it seems they were right. After losing the Green Party Nomination and being passed over as Jill Stein’s running mate, she called the activist “a Zionist.” In response to Stein's support for trans rights, Roseanne tweeted “Women do not want your penises forced in their faces or in our private bathrooms. Respect that FACT,” and then called a critic who was not going going to vote for her, “woman hater.” Roseanne did win the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, but her running mate didn't support her tweets such as “Nuke all UC David Jew-Haters.” It was too late in the elections for the running mate to leave her position entirely, so she simply alerted everyone that she was no longer an active participant.
2012 Tweet of George Zimmerman's Parents' Home Address
Twitter has proven to be an ideal place for Roseanne to get into trouble. She wasn't the only person--celebrity or not--angry about George Zimmerman's fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but her tweet disclosing his family's phone number and address stirred up debate. Although she deleted the comment (which she frequently does after people argue with her), his parents sued for invasion of privacy and emotional harm, but the judge dismissed charges. The court assessed that they had violated privacy themselves by speaking about the shooting and that their information was already publicly accessible.
2012-2013 Declarations of Mind Control
MK Ultra was a series of CIA experiments from 1953-1973 that examined psychological torture tactics and how to use hallucinogenic drugs for mind control. Following a 2009 blog entry about Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, using his children to further this research, Roseanne continued to warn of other governmental interference. She also claimed that marijuana can protect again manipulation. She posted an article by John Phillips that related the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings to a systemic conspiracy between the military and entertainment world promoting psychological warfare, prescription medications, MindWar, and Satanic worship. In 2013, she tweeted “It's a big culture of mind control, MK Ultra rules in Hollywood.”
2013 Support for Anti-Semitic Beliefs
Following a 2012 tweet that ““Jewish mind control is the hardest to break out of,” Roseanne showed public support and praise for saxophonist Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon had made numerous anti-Semitic statements through the years questioning events during Auschwitz and denying certain aspects of the Holocaust.
2014 Incendiary Pro-Israel Sentiments
Somewhere along the way of ranting against Jewish mind control, Roseanne went to the other extreme and converted to right-wing Likudism. Along with sending provocative tweets such as the above-mentioned “Nuke Jew-Haters,” she also started calling anyone who seemed anti-Israel, “Nazis.” Her position on Gilad Atzmon changed, as seen in one of her notorious tweets, and to this day, she continues to rally against anyone she considers pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). Of singer Lorde, who recently canceled this year's Tel Aviv concert because of human rights violations of Palestinians, she tweeted “Boycott this bigot.”
2017 Anti-Ireland Scorn
Roseanne took to social media once again to advise Britain to reclaim Ireland, citing
“Jews are leaving your country after centuries there (because) of anti semitism.” She engaged in a series of rants that equated the Irish people of Ireland to Palestinian occupiersin Israel, and said “I have a chip on my shoulder for genocidal jew haters...”
Roseanne had its share of controversy throughout its nine seasons, but none of that can compare to the real-life controversy that was star Roseanne Barr’s life. We’ll all be interested to see if she can keep her thoughts to herself as we approach the March 27th reboot of her beloved show.