Roseanne Barr addresses her Islamophobia in new episode about Muslim neighbours

  • 09/05/2018
Roseanne with Muslim neighbours
The episode about a Muslim family living next to the Connors is based around Barr's own Islamophobia. Photo credit: Roseanne

Roseanne Barr has addressed her own controversial anti-Muslim stance in a new episode of her sitcom, which dives deep into Islamophobia.

The Roseanne episode, which aired Tuesday night in the US (local time), reportedly makes jokes out of typically offensive tropes about Muslim culture. The central character is fearful, for example, that her neighbours are building a bomb out of the fertiliser outside their garage.

"That's how they make bombs!" she says.

"What if this is a sleeper cell of terrorists getting ready to blow up the neighbourhood?"

Reportedly, there are also jokes about the family being friends with ISIS, and their son sleeping in a bullet proof vest because he's scared of the threats he's received around the neighbourhood.

Dave Caplan, co-executive producer of the show, confirmed to Entertainment Weekly it was the idea of Roseanne herself to do a story about Muslim neighbours.

"She wanted to get a comeuppance for her own bias... that was her idea," Caplan said.

In typical sitcom fashion, Roseanne finds herself in a predicament halfway through the episode, and the only people who can help are - of course - her Muslim neighbours Fatima (Anne Bedian) and Samir (Alain Washnevsk).

Roseanne's character ends up learning a classic 'they're just like us' lesson about acceptance, and then defends Fatima after a supermarket cashier assails her with bigoted insults.

"You are ignorant," snaps Roseanne in the show.

"That woman is twice the person you'll ever be."

The episode is playing on Barr's own open Islamophobic comments in the past. She's referred to Muslims, Palestinians and Palestinian rights campaigners as "Nazis" on social media and been a public supporter of Donald Trump, who called for a ban on any Muslim entering the United States for any reason whatsoever.

She has since deleted many such controversial tweets - including a call for a nuclear attack on the non-Jewish students and staff of University of California - and some accounts she has retweeted have been disabled by Twitter for hate speech violations.

But digital records of her statements have been kept and other social media users are republishing them.

"#RoseanneBarr called me a Nazi & blocked me for supporting the indigenous people of Palestine and calling for an end to Israeli apartheid & military occupation," one Twitter user wrote in January.