Throughout her life, Barr has fiercely supported what she believes in — sometimes it’s for the greater good, like when she’s slamming sexist network executives, and other times, it’s to a fault. This was the case with The Jackie Thomas Show, an ABC series Barr helped create that starred her then-husband Tom Arnold.
According to the Los Angeles Times, The Jackie Thomas Show had one of the highest-rated premiers in years, yet it received mixed reviews from critics. In response, Barr fired off a series of profanity-laced, homophobic notes to those who doled out negative reviews. Because it was the ’90s, Barr’s smoking gun of choice was a fax machine — and no critic was safe.
Barr’s venomous faxes were described by USA Today editors as “appalling,” “horrific,” and homophobic. In one of the tamest examples, the comedian told Los Angeles Times critic Howard Rosenberg that he would be “portrayed by an effeminate, mousy actor” if his life were made into a sitcom. Rosenberg had written that Arnold’s show was “rarely funny” and his character was “one dimensional.”
In a rare apology, Barr claimed her notes didn’t contain any anti-gay slurs and were all personal attacks based on personal things. Addressing her message to Rosenberg, Barr said, “I’m trying to educate him on the difference between a personal attack and a review. I want him to know how it feels.”