Barr performs the act of apologizing — but only under duress. She doesn’t actually ask for forgiveness, because she doesn’t think she needs it. Over the last five years, Barr has allowed the indignant confidence that first made her a feminist firebrand to transform into something dark and dangerous that feeds on others’ rage. She’s the victor who constantly casts herself as the victim, the one with the megaphone who thinks she’s being silenced.
Barr communicates constantly with others online, yet she’s insulated herself from the sort of introspective conversations her work once inspired. She considers herself beyond reproach — a sentiment that, until today, has been merited: No number of anti-Muslim rants or unhinged conspiracy tweetstorms seemed to be enough to compromise the project branded with her name, especially after its monumental ratings debut. Her politics and “strong personality” (a term often used to describe someone with opinions that challenge the status quo — as in the case of Barr’s 1980s and ’90s persona — or, in this case, traffic in old-school sexism, racism, and anti-gay, anti-trans, or anti-Muslim rhetoric) were, as Roseanne reboot coordinator Sara Gilbert acknowledged and ABC executives joked about, problematic, but apparently not to the extent that they would actually interfere with the show.