Michael Fishman ‘devastated’ after ‘Roseanne’ cancellation
NEW YORK — “Roseanne” star Michael Fishman, who has played D.J. Conner on the series since its start in 1988, says he’s “devastated” following news of the show’s cancellation, a move made by ABC on Tuesday after star Roseanne Barr went on a racist Twitter rant.
“Today is one of the hardest in my life,” he wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “I feel devastated, not for the end of the Roseanne show, but for all those who poured their hearts and souls into our jobs, and the audience that welcomed us into their homes.”
Earlier Tuesday, Barr made racist and offensive comments about former aid to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton and George Soros in a series of tweets.
She later apologized and claimed to be taking a break from Twitter.
ABC canceled the series just hours after she made her first comments. By then, comedian Wanda Sykes had already publicly quit as a consulting producer on the show.
“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.
Fishman echoed statements made by Sara Gilbert, who played his sister Darlene, saying he found Barr’s comments to be “reprehensible and intolerable.”
“Our cast, crew, writers, and production staff strived for inclusiveness, with numerous storylines designed to reflect inclusiveness,” Fishman said. “The words of one person do not exemplify the thinking of all involved.”
In the first episodes of the revived series, which returned to ABC in April with massive ratings after more than ten years off the air, it is revealed that D.J. has a biracial daughter. One of Roseanne’s grandchildren also identifies as gender non-conforming.
“While I am going to miss being part of the ABC family, I believe that to sit back or remain silent in an attempt to distance myself from the actions/statements of others would unintentionally endorse or placate those statements which I find truly offensive,” Fishman added. “In this moment it is important to be clear. We must stand-up against; bias, hatred, bigotry and ignorance to make society a better place for all.”
“Roseanne” had been set to premiere a new season in fall.
In wake of the show’s cancellation, speculation about a possible future for “Roseanne” at another network have already begun.
However, with Fishman and other cast members putting distance between themselves and Barr, who was dropped by her agency ICM Partners in wake of the controversy, the question remains whether people in front of and behind the scenes at “Roseanne” would be willing to return.
CNN’s e-mail requests for comment sent to Carsey-Werner, the production company behind “Roseanne,” have not been returned.
Emma Kenney, who played one of Roseanne’s grandchildren on the reboot, wrote on Twitter after the news of the show’s axing, “Bullies will NEVER win.”