- Comedienne and actress
- Self-identified socialist
- Former member of the now-defunct radical group ACORN
- Ran for U.S. President on the Green Party ticket in 2012
Roseanne Cherrie Barr was born on November 3, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1974 she married the first of her three husbands, Bill Pentland, and bore three children with him. Parlaying her experiences as a wife and mother into a stand-up comedy act, Barr began performing at local clubs in the early 1980s. By 1985 she was making guest appearances on The Tonight Show, and in 1988 she became the star of her own ABC sitcom, Roseanne, which aired until 1997. For additional details about Barr’s career in the entertainment industry, click here and here.
Apart from her work as an actress and comedienne, Barr has earned a reputation as a politically outspoken, self-described socialist who holds Republicans in contempt. When the Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney underwent heart-transplant surgery in March 2012, for instance, Barr tweeted: “I agree that we have the right to die as we choose-iwish cheney would exercise that right.” (Capitalization and spacing errors are as they appeared in the original.) In addition, Barr was once a proud member of the now-defunct radical group ACORN, which she characterized as “a great organization” in 2009, even as it was engulfed in massive scandal and corruption.
In early 2008, Barr praised Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton as a “seasoned woman politician with 35 years of experience,” and similarly lauded one of Clinton’s leading Democratic rivals, John Edwards, for being “pro-union.” By contrast, Barr disliked then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama and wrote: “I have decided that having a woman president before any man of any color is what these times call for.” By 2009, however, Barr was convinced that “anything that [President] Obama does is just fantastic.” Conversely, by 2015 her former affinity for Mrs. Clinton had eroded dramatically: “She [Clinton] seems like every other Democrat. I would not like to see her win [the presidency]. She’s the same old shit.”
In March 2009, not long after the Israeli-Hamas war known as Operation Cast Lead had come to an end, Barr used her website, Roseanne World, as a forum from which to denounce then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. She posted the following—with all spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors appearing as she wrote them:
ohlmert you lie: you say that twelve rockets were fired into israel since the end of the “war” (ethnic cleansing). Not one Israeli was hurt or killed by these rockets, and now you say you are going to go back and kill more palestinians to teach them a lesson!!! “I think rockets are being fired by your own sources, since less than ten israelis have been killed by them. You are bullshitting the world as you pocket money made from arms sales, along with bibi and your agents in Hamas. step down all men in power!”
By the summer of 2014, however, Barr’s perceptions of the Arab-Israeli conflict had changed considerably, as evidenced by her tweeting: “They [Hamas] say they won’t stp fighting Israel til evry Jew there is dead. They say it everyday, repeatedly. If ur ignoring/excusing that-yr sick.” And in February 2015, when UC Davis’s student court rejected a student resolution urging the University to divest from companies doing business in Israel, Barr tweeted that she hoped the school would be “nuked.”
“BDS is right wing and fascist, make no mistake—the fact that it pretends to be of the Left helps to obscure the fact of the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians in all Arab states, happening since 1948, when the entire Arab world began its still ongoing boycott of Israel…. BDS is part of what I call the fake left—that peculiar left whose spokespeople are from privilege…. This Left cares nothing about unions or working people, their wages, their health coverage, their fair share of the profits they work to produce, which is, incidentally, what The Actual Left lives breathes and fights FOR…. BDSers don’t want peace, nor do they want peace negotiations…. BDS uses the incorrect and coded word, ‘occupation,’ as it applauds [Mahmoud] Abbas for refusing to negotiate peace, and apologizes for his hate-mongering and inciting for the murder of Jewish civilians who are ‘all guilty’ whether they are Israeli or French or Brazilian. This helps to create theater for social media and, better yet, to further forestall peace talks until after all Arabic Jews are not only expelled to Israel, but hopefully ‘driven into the sea,’ and the State which offered them safety, destroyed through intifada.”
In that same speech, Barr said: “During my [presidential] campaign, about 2011, everything I had ever believed about the Left was shaken and the scales fell from my eyes and I had to admit that many of those I considered comrades were naked bigots, who had absolutely no interest in peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs, at all—as I did. It was shocking to realize that what I considered criticism of Israel many, many times gave way to regular garden variety anti-Semitism that I had overheard all of my life….” (To view a transcript of Barr’s full speech, click here.)
In October 2010 Barr posted Jon Gold’s 9/11 research article, titled “The Facts Speak for Themselves,” on the front page of her Roseanne World blog. She exhorted her fans to “PLEASE READ” Gold’s “brilliant analysis,” which concluded that “some elements” within the U.S. government “were complicit in the attacks of 9/11.”
In September 2011, Barr met with a contingent of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in lower Manhattan and was then interviewed by the broadcast station Russia Today, where she articulated her disdain for the banking industry: “Part of my platform is, of course, that the guilty must be punished and that we can no longer let our children see their guilty leaders getting away with murder…. I do say that I am for the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty. I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, the ability to pay back, anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million. And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should go to the reeducation camps and if that doesn’t help, then be beheaded.”
Barr was deeply angered by the highly publicized March 26, 2012 altercation in which a black Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a “white Hispanic” neighborhood-watch captain named George Zimmerman. Three days after the incident, Barr—suspecting that Zimmerman, who had not yet been arrested in connection with the killing, may have been staying at his parents’ Florida home in order to avoid media scrutiny—publicly posted the parents’ home address on Twiiter. She then followed up with several additional messages, including: “If Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll rt [re-tweet] his address again — maybe go 2 his house myself.”1
In March 2014, Zimmerman’s parents sued Barr for the emotional distress that the comedienne’s invasion of their privacy had caused them. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Barr had tried to “incite a lynch mob to descend” upon them, and that they had been forced to flee their home in the middle of the night as a result. As of June 2015, the case had not yet been adjudicated.
In 2012, Barr took exception to Chick-fil-A Restaurant president Dan Cathy’s assertion—in an interview he did with the religious publication Biblical Recorder—that while he and his company were “very much supportive of the … biblical definition of the family unit,” they did “not feel called to weigh in on a lot of social activism that’s taking place as it relates to the definition of the family.” In response to Mr. Cathy’s failure to affirmatively endorse gay marriage, Barr tweeted: “anyone who eats Shit Fil-A deserves to get cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ.”
On February 2, 2012 Barr formally announced that she was seeking the Green Party‘s nomination to run for U.S. President. After rival Green Party candidate Jill Stein was nominated instead, Barr decided to run on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan as her vice-presidential running mate.
Discussing her political priorities in September 2012, Barr said: “I do think that we need a little bit more socialism in this country at this time. We need to move stuff from the top to the middle and the bottom, because it keeps on staying at the top.” Meanwhile, Anita Stewart, who had served as press secretary for Barr’s failed Green Party bid and was now “living below poverty-level wages,” claimed that Barr—whose net worth was approximately $80 million—still owed her $4,300 for campaign work she had done.
In October 2012, Barr tweeted that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “is pro rape.” To clarify her allegation, she added in a subsequent tweet: “both romney and [running mate Paul] ryan oppose paying for the abortions of our raped and forcibly impregnated FEMALE troops!”
In the November 2012 presidential election, the Barr-Sheehan ticket placed fifth, garnering a total of 49,508 votes.
For additional information on Roseanne Barr, click here.
1 In July 2013, Barr, who is a Second Amendment advocate, said she wished that Martin had killed Zimmerman instead. She tweeted: “too bad trayvon was unnarmed, or GZ would be the dead one. ARM ALL TEENAGERS!”