"While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne’s cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character," the statement shared.
Viewers finally found out the fate of the Conner family matriarch during Tuesday's premiere, which took place three weeks after the character's funeral. While friends and family believed the outspoken and acerbic Roseanne died of a heart attack, it was soon discovered that she'd actually been killed due to an accidental opioid overdose.
Fans had long speculated that the Roseanne character would die in such a way, largely in part to an episode of the revival series in which the character comes to the realization that she's been abusing painkillers while recovering from an operation.
However, despite the cause of her demise long being foreshadowed, Barr felt that the shocking death was simply too bleak to fit the tone of the show.
"That [the character's death] was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show," Barr and Boteach's statement expressed.
Roseanne Barr Says She Thinks Her Former 'Roseanne' Colleagues 'Lost a Good Friend'
"This was a choice the network did not have to make," they continued. "Roseanne was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country."
"After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness," the statement continued. "In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity."
Roseanne Barr Reacts to Possibly Being Killed Off on 'The Conners' (Exclusive)
The verbose open letter went on to argue that the "cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive," and that, had ABC allowed Barr to return to the network for another season of her sitcom, it could have fixed the political and cultural divide they feel is readily apparent in America.
"Our society needs to heal on many levels," Barr and Boteach wrote. "What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character – a woman – who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them?"