Firebrand comedian Roseanne Barr set off an uproar this week for comments denying the Holocaust, although the statements by the Jewish entertainer appeared to be satirical.
Barr has expressed pride in her Jewish background and advocated for Jews and Israel in the past, and has a history of making incendiary comments, including racist remarks.
The latest controversy stemmed from comments she made earlier this month on a podcast, “This Past Weekend,” hosted by comedian Theo Von. The statements drew attention in recent days after the Holocaust remarks made the rounds online.
Barr discussed what she claimed was the repression of open discourse by the government and social media, saying “nobody wants to hear the real truth.”
She made comments that appeared to be sarcastic criticism of the dialogue surrounding US President Joe Biden’s election victory, comparing the censure of Biden’s win to restrictions on Holocaust denial.
“I’m glad that they did set up all these guidelines so we only are allowed to speak the truth, and the truth is that Biden got 81 million votes by winning 36 counties and that is just incredible,” Barr said. “I’m just glad that they were careful to make sure that nobody could detract from that proven truth.
“The election was not rigged. Thirty-six counties can give you 81 million votes. That’s a fact,” she said. “don’t you dare say anything against it or you’ll be off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and all the other ones. There’s such a thing as the truth and fact and we have to stick to it.
“That is the truth, and nobody died in the Holocaust either. That’s the truth. It should happen, 6 million Jews should die right now because they cause all the problems in the world but it never happened. Mandated,” she said.
She added that she was “all Jewish, 100%.”
Barr also highlighted Jewish contributions to the entertainment industry, said Hollywood was largely Jewish, and criticized Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue against Jews in entertainment.
“You went there, you tried to get into show business, of course it’s Jewish, and people should be glad that it’s Jewish too, because if Jews were not controlling Hollywood all you’d have is fucking fishing shows,” she said.
Barr also said Jewish lawyers sued people for patent violations, called Hollywood an “organized crime network,” and said she was “not the right kind of Jew for Jews in Hollywood.”
After the controversy, Barr said on Instagram, “This latest attempt against me is the dumbest one to date. They aren’t even trying anymore,” and added that she would have further comments during her podcast on Thursday.
The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, said, “Sarcasm or not, Roseanne Barr’s comments about Jews and the Holocaust are reprehensible and irresponsible.”
“This isn’t funny. And shame on Theo Von for letting it go unchallenged and instead diving into conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood,” Greenblatt said.
The Jewish advocacy group the Simon Wiesenthal Center said the comments were “taken out of context” and that criticism of Barr was “not valid.”
Barr is famous for her role as the star of “Roseanne,” a hugely successful sitcom about a working-class family that ran from 1988 to 1997 and was resurrected in 2018.
In recent years, Barr has made a number of controversial and racist Twitter posts, some promoting conspiracy theories. In 2018, she tweeted about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman, generating the most backlash: “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
Barr later deleted the tweet and apologized, but ABC canceled the show. The network later brought back a spinoff called “The Conners,” without Barr, which failed to gain traction.
Barr has expressed her support for Israel, her love of Judaism, that she grew up among Holocaust survivors, and has decried what she said was antisemitism in Hollywood.