Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has released an edited transcript and audio recording of the interview he conducted with former ABC star Roseanne Barr shortly after the cancellation of her series “Roseanne.”
In the interview, Barr claims that she “never would have wittingly called any black person…a monkey.”
“It’s really hard to say this but, I didn’t mean what they think I meant,” Barr said of her tweet. “And that’s what’s so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people. When you hurt people even unwillingly there’s no excuse. I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses. But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”
Barr spoke through tears for much of the interview. “You have to feel remorse, not just repentance. That’s just a step towards feeling remorse. And when you feel remorse you have to follow it with recompense,” Barr said tearfully. “You have to take an action in the world - whether it’s through money or other things - to correct your sin. After your heart is unfrozen and after it stops being broken from the pain you caused others, you stop being a robot and you gotta’ come back to God. So it’s remorse, and I definitely feel remorse.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Boteach and Barr also discussed the Jewish faith, including Barr’s study of the Torah. Boteach emphasized that the discussion was meant to be framed by “our shared commitment to Torah values.” He referenced Genesis and its principle that “all human beings are equal and all human beings are God’s children.”
“So, I’m asking, in that tweet, people see in that a complete contravention of that values system,” he said, as the topic of the tweet arose.
Barr explained that she didn’t mean what “they think I meant.”
“I have black children in my family,” she said. “I can’t, I can’t let ‘em say these things about that, after 30 years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people. I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. But I’m not stupid for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that. And people think that I did that and it just kills me,” she said while sobbing.