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‘We Have to Turn it Into a Teaching Moment.’ Valerie Jarrett Responds to Roseanne Barr’s Racist Tweet

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Former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said ABC made the correct choice by canceling Roseanne after the comedian Roseanne Barr compared her to an “ape” on Tuesday, adding that the controversy should be a “teaching moment.”

ABC announced it was canceling Roseanne, which had already been renewed for a second season, following a tweet from Barr that has since been deleted that compared Jarrett, who is black, to Planet of the Apes.

Jarrett, previously an adviser to President Barack Obama and is a longtime friend of the Obamas, said during an MSNBC town hall called “Everyday Racism in America” that the experience should be turned into a “teaching moment” about racism people experience all the time in their daily lives.

“I’m fine,” she said. “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.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger called her before ABC decided to cancel Roseanne, telling her there was zero tolerance for the kind of comments she made.

“He wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show,” she said.

ABC called Barr’s twitter comment “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” in a statement on Tuesday. Barr apologized in a tweet and said she was leaving the platform.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com