Fact Check

Was ABC Ordered to Pay Roseanne Barr $208M in Lawsuit Over 'The Conners' Show?

A viral article claimed that a jury ordered the network to pay "for stealing her show." But was it a real news story?

Published Feb. 3, 2023

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A jury ruled that ABC network must pay Roseanne Barr $208 million "for stealing her show, 'The Conners,'" from her.

In January 2023, an article went viral claiming that a jury ordered ABC network to pay Roseanne Barr $208 million in exchange "for stealing her show, 'The Connors'" from her. Barr's character was killed off from her show "Roseanne" in 2018, after she authored a racist tweet, and ABC continued with the production, renaming the show "The Connors" and billing it as a spinoff to "Roseanne" without the main character.

The article claimed Barr fought a court case against the network, and it went in her favor; Evidence supposedly proved to the jury that "executives at the company purposely exposed Roseanne's bigotry, racism, and 'conservative conspiracy theories' so they could rip her career out from under her and steal her show."

The article stated:

Producers were especially nasty to the actress, ordering head writer Joe Barron to not just eliminate Roseanne, but to do it in an embarrassing and condescending way. They made her into some kind of pill junkie and had her OD. That's just sad.

Now they'll have to pay. ABC's lawyers say that because The Jury is a Netflix show and not an actual legal entity. that they probably won't be paying, but that's beside the point. Nearly 11 percent of all of the show's winners go on to file successful civil suits in actual courts.

Roseanne says she's definitely interested in pursuing that course of action, telling this reporter she's fed up with the system and asking if I had any weed. Let me tell you what, patriots. Want a good dose of the real world? Get yourself good and baked with Roseanne Barr. Holy Christ what a trip.

The article was a work of satire; hence, our "Labeled Satire" rating for this claim. The article originated with freedomfictions.com, which describes itself as "a subsidiary of the 'America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery, or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News."

The website states that all of its content is "fiction." It adds, "It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. [...]"

After Barr made a racist tweet in 2018 about an advisor of former U.S. President Barack Obama, a revived version of the original "Roseanne" sitcom was cancelled, her character was killed, and Barr relinquished her rights to the series. ABC then started "The Connors," a show with a plot that takes place in the same world as characters of "Roseanne," though Barr had no financial or creative stake in the spinoff program.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


"About Us." Freedom Fictions, https://freedomfictions.com/29-2/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Goldberg, Lesley. "'The Conners' Reveals Roseanne's Fate in Spinoff Debut." The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Oct. 2018, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/conners-how-did-roseanne-barr-exit-abc-comedy-roseannes-fate-explained-1152243/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Eagleton, Flagg. "TRUE: ABC Forced To Pay Roseanne $208 Million For Stealing 'The Connors.'" Freedom Fictions, 23 Jan. 2023, https://freedomfictions.com/true-abc-forced-to-pay-roseanne-208-million-for-stealing-the-connors/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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