Ambien Claps Back at Roseanne Barr After She Blames Her Racist Twitter Tirade on the Sleep Aid

A crisis expert applauds the drugmaker's response

- Credit by Animation: Yuliya Kim; Sources: Shana Novak/Getty Images, @SanofiUS
Headshot of Alissa Fleck

Everyone knows there are some weird side effects from taking sleep aid Ambien, but Roseanne Barr’s vitriolic racism is not one of them, at least according to Ambien manufacturer Sanofi.

The controversial sitcom figure went on a racist Twitter rant yesterday directed at Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, which she later deleted from the platform.

ABC promptly pulled her show from the air, and now Barr is attempting to save face by pointing the finger at the sedative rather than, you know, her own bigotry. However, she also later deleted a series of tweets shifting the blame to the sleep aid.

Sanofi tweeted in response:


“The playbook on these abhorrent and outrageous behaviors dictates that companies act swiftly, comprehensively and very definitively,” said Harlan Loeb, global chair of crisis and risk mitigation practice at PR firm Edelman. “It has to be instantaneous–all the preparation that goes into making a decision in this age of rage has to be premeditated, so it’s like flicking a switch.” 

Loeb said, in a survey, 84 percent of respondents expected companies to take bold action on this type of crisis, and as far as what they expect, “It can’t be corporate tropes, it has to be an authentic statement that humanizes the face of leadership.”

Loeb also applauded all the actors impacted by Barr’s meltdown. “Every precinct that was impacted by this acted quickly and I would give them an ‘A’,” he said.  “If you let it languish and it’s unaddressed for even a few hours, it’s like the risk of someone flatlining as far as the company goes.”

When Adweek reached out to Sanofi for comment, the drugmaker reiterated the aforementioned tweet.


@AlissaFleck Alissa Fleck is a New York City-based reporter, podcast producer and contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: May 30, 2018 https://stage.adweek.com/brand-marketing/ambien-claps-back-at-roseanne-barr-after-she-blames-her-racist-twitter-tirade-on-the-sleep-aid/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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