Fox News defended comedian Roseanne Barr on Tuesday, after ABC announced that it had canceled her sitcom following a racist Twitter rant.
“I don’t understand it to be anything other than free speech,” said Outnumbered Overtime host Harris Faulkner. “…It is extremely offensive but it is just that. She says in one of her tweets, there were three rapid-fire today…’It was a joke. It was a miscalculated joke.’”
Guest and GOP strategist Noelle Nikpour agreed. “She is a comedian,” she said. “She does have a very wicked, twisted sense of humor. Everybody knows her to be a little raunchy and a little rough.”
Barr came under fire earlier on Tuesday after she posted a series of racist tweets comparing former Obama administration senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape.
“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted, responding to a threaded conspiracy theory discussion about how Jarrett had allegedly helped cover up President Obama’s alleged bad behavior.
Roseanne Barr comparing Valerie Jarrett, the black senior adviser to President Obama, to an ape. pic.twitter.com/hXHltBnI1r
— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 29, 2018
Barr later removed the tweet and issued an apology.
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste,” she tweeted.
She added that she would be “leaving Twitter” following the incident.
I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018
Faulkner’s “free speech” argument comes hours after network hosts criticized comedian Michelle Wolf, who previously came under fire for calling White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders a liar during her remarks at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Wolf poked fun at Sanders once more on Monday night during the debut episode of her new Netflix show, The Break With Michelle Wolf, saying that the press secretary was a hypocrite with “the Mario Batali of personalities.”
“Is that funny?” Fox & Friends weekend host Pete Hegseth asked during a segment of the show Tuesday morning. “I like funny, I will laugh. I’m a very generous laugher. I wish that was even remotely funny.”
“It’s not funny,” host Ainsley Earhardt added.
Later in the segment, Earhardt interviewed RNC national spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who claimed Wolf was emblematic of “a very angry, militant type of feminism that is very hypocritical.”
“You know she says she is for women’s rights but yet she tears down women who are on the right,” McEnany said. “We see this on the left repeatedly. …Why aren’t they celebrating women on the right who have broken through that glass ceiling? …They tear them down in a malicious, angry, vile way.”
Faulkner herself has criticized Wolf in the past. On April 29, one day after the comedian’s remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Faulkner tweeted that Wolf’s speech was mean-spirited.
When given big chance to take the open highway of #high road and make us all laugh, #whca guest chose to gutter sway. First Amendment protects you can say a thing. Doesn’t mean you should. BTW teaching my daughters, #MeanGirls are irrelevant. #basic
— HARRISFAULKNER (@HARRISFAULKNER) April 29, 2018
“When given big chance to take the open highway of #high road and make us all laugh, #whca guest chose to gutter sway,” she wrote at the time. “First Amendment protects you can say a thing. Doesn’t mean you should. BTW teaching my daughters, #MeanGirls are irrelevant. #basic.”
Barr has a long history of making incendiary, racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments. As ThinkProgress previously reported, earlier on Tuesday, the comedian retweeted several posts about Pizzagate, an unfounded conspiracy theory that claims high-profile Democrats like Hillary Clinton are running a child sex trafficking ring beneath Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., as well as graphic tweets about abortion and Islam.
Barr was also forced to apologize Tuesday, after she incorrectly claimed that former first daughter Chelsea Clinton had married the nephew of billionaire investor George Soros, a frequent target of conservatives.
“CORRECTION: CHELSEA CLINTON IS NOT MARRIED TO A SOROS NEPHEW. HER HUSBAND IS THE SON OF A CORRUPT SENATOR, SO SORRY!” she tweeted.
In the past, Barr has been criticized for dressing as Hitler for a photo spread while eating burnt “Jew cookies,” promoting conspiracy theories about undocumented immigrants, comparing a young Parkland shooting survivor to a Nazi, and calling Muslim immigrants “Savages,” among other things.
Despite these things, Barr has notably enjoyed the support of one of the most powerful people in the country in recent years: in 2016, President Trump thanked Barr on Twitter for supporting his presidential bid; more recently, White House Press Secretary Sanders confirmed that Trump had called Barr to congratulate her on her sitcom revival.