Following an apparent prank, comedian Roseanne Barr has assured the public that she has not had a heart attack.
"I’m fine," the 66-year-old Barr tweeted over the weekend with a photo of herself in leggings and a novelty T-shirt, standing in a living room or den. In a second tweet a little more than an hour later, she explained, "I was the victim of a prank. I’ve had no medical issues. I’m spending time at home with my family and relaxing."
The rumor began when former Breitbart News reporter Lee Stranahan, now co-host with Garland Nixon of the Russian-sponsored Sputnik Radio show "Fault Lines with Nixon and Stranahan," took a live call on a Populist.TV vodcast on the video-streaming app Periscope.
"Yes, hello. This is Roseanne's assistant," a male voice told Stranahan. "This is Roseanne's assistant, Frank. I'm her new assistant for her.”
"Yeah?" asks Stranahan.
"She just had a heart attack," the voice says, as a stunned Stranahan stammers, "and I'm trying to figure out exactly what, what to do about this. Um, you left her a voicemail on her, uh, her voicemail, y'know — "
"Hey, hey. Hey, Frank. Frank, hang on one sec, Frank," Stranhan says, amid some crosstalk as the voice continues, " — and you're talking about her underwear and stuff?" The vodcast then abruptly ends.
Sometime afterward, Stranahan tweeted, "I was doing a call-in segment about Zionism on Periscope when the phone rang, saying it was my friend @therealroseanne. I was surprised but it's a topic she's interested in so … It was her assistant, saying she'd had a heart attack. This went out live. I don't know her status."
Stranahan then spent several hours on and off on Twitter after Roseanne denied the rumor, defending himself, often harshly, to commenters who criticized him for accepting the caller's word about being Roseanne's assistant and ending the vodcast without clarification.
"I just talked to @therealroseanne...totally fine," he later tweeted. "No idea what happened and it's bizarre.”
He added, " 'Underwear' was a reference to a voicemail I'd left her a few weeks ago, a joke reference. This is one reason I know whoever called had listened to her voicemail, which is when I stopped the Periscope."
He said he had tried to check the veracity of the call. "Yes, called back, got no answer. Also called back later and it went to her VM. Yes. It was her phone. She checked call log, saw call FROM me but not outgoing call." He offered no explanation as to why a stricken celebrity's assistant might call a radio host to ask "what to do."