LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The maker of Ambien said Wednesday that “racism is not a known side effect” after Roseanne Barr cited the insomnia drug in explaining the tweet that led ABC to cancel her show.
Hours after ABC pulled the plug on “Roseanne” because of her offensive tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett — and quickly breaking a promise to stay off Twitter — the comedian was busy posting on the social media platform.
Barr tweeted that what she did was unforgiveable and urged supporters not to defend her. She said of the Jarrett tweet, “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting.”
Barr later tweeted that she has had odd experiences while taking the drug late at night. “I blame myself, not Ambien,” she tweeted.
She also roped comedian Joe Rogan into the conversation, writing: “I think Joe Rogan is right about ambien (sp). Not giving excuses for what I did(tweeted) but I’ve done weird stuff while on ambien-cracked eggs on the wall at 2am etc-”
In an apparent nod to Barr, Rogan later posted a link to a Huffington Post article that recounted how defense attorneys for Robert Stewart, who was accused of killing eight people in a 2009 shooting at a North Carolina nursing home, successfully argued that Stewart was not responsible for his actions because he was under the influence of Ambien at the time of the shooting.
Ambien is a brand name for the drug zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia.
Drug maker Sanofi took to social media to say that “while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
The drug’s ubiquitous TV ads warn consumers that side effects of Ambien may include memory loss and mental/mood/behavior changes, including depression, abnormal or suicidal thoughts, or anxiety.
Following Barr’s initial tweet, ABC canceled the show in a one-sentence statement from network entertainment president Channing Dungey. She called it “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”
Barr’s agent also dropped her and several services pulled “Roseanne” reruns.
Jarrett, who said she was “fine” after the slur, urged in an MSNBC special Tuesday about racism that the incident become a teaching moment.
“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,” Jarrett said. “But I also think that every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be.”
Barr intimated she might take some type of action against the backlash.
“[Y]ou guys make me feel like fighting back. I will examine all of my options carefully and get back to U,” Barr tweeted Wednesday. It’s not clear to what “options” she is referring.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)