Senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, is speaking out about racism after comedienne Roseanne Barr made racist comments about her on Twitter. In an upcoming special on MSNBC, Jarrett suggested Barr’s racist tirade should serve as a lesson to all, and explained Donald Trump’s responsibility in the matter.
Barr incited many Twitter users after she compared Jarrett to an ape in a now-deleted tweet. Although the actress’ words were clearly drenched in racism and hatred, Jarrett claims she wasn’t personally bothered. “I’m fine,” she says. “I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense.”
Jarrett also suggests that President Trump is responsible for making racist rhetoric okay. “The tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country,” she says. Even so, she acknowledges Barr’s responsibility in the matter. “But I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it’s up to all of us to push back,” she adds. “Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be…I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment.”
Following public outrage, Barr issued an apology online on May 29, claiming she made a “joke” in poor taste. Nevertheless, ABC announced that it was cancelling the reboot of Barr’s self-titled sitcom. A number of celebrities including the show’s cast member Wanda Sykes, expressed their disapproval of Barr’s comments on social media following the announcement.
Jarrett is reportedly scheduled to participate in the MSNBC special, Everyday Racism, which airs Tuesday night (May. 29).