Roseanne Barr tried to blame her prescription sleep medication for a racist Twitter tirade that resulted in the cancellation of her show, but drug manufacturer Sanofi is hitting back at the accusation.
In a since-deleted tweet, Barr tried to explain her inflammatory comments as “ambien tweeting.”
The drug Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, is a common prescription sleep aide known for its heavy sedative effects. Common side effects include hallucinations and memory loss, but manufacturer Sanofi clarified Wednesday that racism is not a known side effect.
“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” a tweet from Sanofi reads. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
Roseanne was widely mocked for her Ambien claims on Twitter:
The problem with Roseanne’s “Ambien” explanation is that sleep medicine doesn’t turn you into a racist
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) May 30, 2018
I have only taken Ambien once...but I don't remember one of the side-effects being racism.
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) May 30, 2018
WE! JUST! TOOK! AMBIEN! pic.twitter.com/esu3IMj8gu
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) May 30, 2018
Eugene Gu, a resident physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said Roseanne could have been tweeting in her sleep, but added “that racism had to come from somewhere deep within”:
Ambien has quite a few side effects but racism isn’t one of them. Even if Roseanne wanted to claim she had an Ambien blackout and was sleep tweeting, that racism had to come from somewhere deep within.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) May 30, 2018
Buzzfeed News' David Mack noted that even if one were to believe Roseanne's excuse, it doesn't explain years of offensive comments she's made in the past:
please excuse my years of sharing wildly offensive conspiracy theories on this website i was on ambien last night when i shared that one thing that got me in trouble thank you
— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 30, 2018
Roseanne's show was swiftly canceled on Tuesday following her Twitter outburst.