Appearing on Good Morning Britain Monday, Arnold, 59, said Barr, 65, is “obviously” a racist.
Asked if he bases that opinion off of the actress’ tweet that prompted ABC to cancel the Roseanne revival or his general knowledge of her character, he said: “I base it off the last six months of her tweeting and social media, since I heard that there’s going to be a reboot.”
“It turns out she’s a huge Donald Trump supporter,” he continued. “We’ve known Donald Trump for 30 years, so that surprised me. You know, I see her social media, she’s one of those conspiracy people. There’s a lot of them in America. Our president, he’s a racist. I mean, he feeds into this conspiracy stuff — there’s so much anxiety in our country. So I read her social media and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. She thinks that Donald Trump is about ready to arrest Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama, send him to Guantanamo.’ ”
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Arnold argued that the actress should quit social media entirely and said he wasn’t surprised by Barr’s offensive tweet, in which she likened former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to an “ape.” (Barr later claimed that she didn’t know Jarrett is black and said she was on Ambien while tweeting.)
“I have to say, I saw it coming. I warned everybody,” he said. “I’m talking to my stepdaughter the whole time because she’s been cut off. I said, ‘You’ve got to get her phone away from her.’ … It was madness.”
“You can’t call black people monkeys,” he went on. “That’s what she was doing. … She was doing that over and over again. A lot of those Trump people do that. It’s not acceptable. [Network executives] should have gotten involved earlier. They should have been a little more aware. … You could have seen this coming, perhaps, and done something.”
Arnold also touched on whether he thinks mental health issues played a part in the controversy.
“She has had mental illness. When we were married, she dealt openly and honestly — our whole family did — with multiple personality disorder,” he said. “She was honest and courageous about that. So I don’t know exactly what’s going on. I know there is mental illness issues.”
Barr addressed her mental health issues in 2011 when she retracted her allegation that her parents had sexually abused her. “I was in a very unhappy relationship. I was prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs, incredible mixtures of psychiatric drugs to deal with the fact that I had — and still in some ways have and always will have — some mental illness,” she told Oprah Winfrey. “And [with] the drugs and the combination of drugs that I was given — which were some strong, strong drugs — I totally lost touch with reality in a big, big way.”
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Arnold worked on the original Roseanne as a writer and producer before he was fired in 1994 by series star Barr, whom he divorced the same year. (They were married from 1990-94.)
Earlier this year, Arnold sat down and reviewed the reboot for The Hollywood Reporter, slamming Barr for going from a “feminist-pacifist voice for the working folks” to a “far-right Trump-loving troll who’s gone hard against liberals and Hillary supporters and even #MeToo women.”
One person who still supports the actress? Her son Jake Pentland, who posted an Instagram video defending his mother last week.
“It’s now proven that Mom had no idea that Valerie was African-American,” said Pentland, 40.
“She says Muslims are not a race. That’s what happened. That’s what she deleted. So you see right there in the minute when somebody said, ‘You’re racist,’ she is like, ‘Why is me calling a Muslim a name racist? They’re not a race.’’She had no idea. It’s proven. It’s inarguable.”
He went on to slam “mainstream media” and Hollywood publicists.
“You know what? It’s an a–hole tweet, it’s insensitive, we get it,” he said. “We’re in a f—ing bubble. Me and Mom are completely out of touch, that we would think that it’s okay for a white person to call a non-white person and compare them to a monkey. Like, you got it. You won. You took the show off. She’s apologized. It’s over. War’s over.”
Like his mother, Pentland has supported Trump on social media.