“Roseanne” showrunner asks fans to look past Roseanne Barr’s Hitler photo shoot, and, um, are you serious?

Roseanne co-showrunner Bruce Helford has responded to the photos of Roseanne Barr making their way around the internet, and he’s hoping fans will look beyond the antics of the series star and namesake. But seriously? That seems like a big ask.

Last week, just days after Roseanne returned to an overwhelming viewership, prompting the series to be picked up for an 11th season, photos of Barr dressed like Hitler while taking burnt gingerbread cookies out of the oven resurfaced and quickly began circulating around the internet. The photos, according to Snopes, were part of a 2009 photo shoot for a former Jewish satirical publication called Heeb magazine. It was reportedly Barr’s idea to dress up as Hitler as, according to the profile accompanying the photos, the comedian has a “theory” that “she may in fact be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.”

While the photos, which also stirred controversy when they were first released, have caused many to call for a boycott of the ABC sitcom revival, Helford is asking fans to separate the show from its star’s political beliefs.

For those who haven’t seen the disturbing photos, here they are:


In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Helford became the latest to reiterate that Roseanne is not about Barr’s personal political beliefs. Admitting that he doesn’t know about the “context” of the photos, the producer encouraged viewers to watch the show “without the accompanying background noise.”

"I know that Roseanne is a very staunch supporter of Israel and she has said as much. I imagine there's probably some amount of parody involved and all that. I don't know the context of that so I wouldn't make a comment on it. My feeling is that people should just watch the show and judge it on its merits. Watch the show without the accompanying background noise," he told THR. "Everybody, including Roseanne, wanted the show to be balanced. When we talk about wanting to open a dialogue in America, that's something that the show does. We're not trying to perform brain surgery or cure cancer."

"We all hoped that this would open a dialogue where people would start laughing at themselves a little bit, get a little less polarized and realize that this is a universal conversation. Lots of families find themselves divided on these issues. There's got to be a way to talk and still love each other the way that Roseanne and Jackie made their peace [in the revival's premiere]. And that's really what we want to have come out of it."

While we can definitely understand Helford’s perspective as a showrunner, we just don’t think we can overlook Barr’s outrageously inappropriate antics and promotion of dangerous conspiracy theories.

In addition to stirring up controversy with the Hitler photo shoot, the comedian also made headlines last week with a since-deleted tweet supporting a fringe conspiracy theory, which read, “President Trump has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world. Hundreds each month. He has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere. notice that. I disagree on some things, but give him benefit of doubt-4 now.”

While Barr’s support of Trump has been difficult for many to digest, her promotion of conspiracy theories akin to the very-much debunked #Pizzagate is just too big for ABC and the producers of Roseanne to ignore themselves, let alone ask us to ignore.

So, sorry, Helford, but we just won’t be able to follow your advice to separate the character from the actress.

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