'Roseanne' showrunner responds to criticism of Roseanne Barr's political views: 'Nobody is making anybody watch the show'

  • “Roseanne” co-showrunner Bruce Helford downplayed the significance of Roseanne Barr‘s controversial political views in relation to the ABC sitcom’s viewership, in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Barr has sparked controversy for her online promotion of far-right conspiracy theories and her vocal support of President Trump, while “Roseanne” premiered last week to high ratings.
  • Helford said that if Barr’s politics bother you, “That’s OK. Nobody is making anybody watch the show.”

The co-showrunner of ABC’s sitcom “Roseanne” said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that viewers of the show should separate star Roseanne Barr’s controversial political views, including her promotion of far-right conspiracy theories, from the show’s content.

While “Roseanne” premiered last week to high ratings, Barr drew criticism for her online history of propagating conspiracies like Pizzagate and a “Nazi salute” conspiracy related to a Parkland shooting activist.

THR asked Bruce Helford, “How do you get people who are turned off by your star’s politics to watch?”

“There should be an understanding that there is a difference between people’s personal politics and what you present onscreen,” Helford said. “We’re hopefully presenting a wonderful, balanced show that doesn’t have an agenda.”

“But beyond that, anybody can dig into anybody’s stuff and find stuff. But if her politics bothers them, then they shouldn’t watch the show. That’s OK. Nobody is making anybody watch the show,” he continued. “We consider ourselves guests in the public’s home and as guests we know that people have the option to turn it off if they don’t want to watch.”

Barr’s politics aside, the show itself has already drawn controversy in its second week for a joke that referenced ABC’s minority-led sitcoms “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”

Roseanne Conner, Barr’s character on the show, is a Trump supporter. Barr herself has been a vocal Trump supporter since the lead-up to the 2016 election.

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