WATCH: Former writer describes the terror of working with Roseanne – and why he tried to hide from her
CNN host Brooke Baldwin (left) and former "Roseanne" writer Stan Zimmerman (right). Image via screengrab.

A former writer on Roseanne Barr's first run of her hit series Roseanne told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that although the star wasn't known for racist outbursts like the one that led to the reboot being cancelled, she wasn't always an easy person to work for.


When Baldwin asked former Roseanne writer Stan Zimmerman why he was wearing a t-shirt with the number 13 on it, he explained that it was a relic from his time working on the show in the 1990's.

Barr and her former husband and business partner Tom Arnold, Zimmerman said, "brought in a lot of her standup comic friends" and ended up with a 21-person writing staff

"The very first day of filming they had us all line up and they printed t-shirts with numbers because they were known for firing people that they could point to your number and fire you without knowing your name," he explained. "I didn't understand the ramifications what that really meant. Thinking back now, it is not the best work environment to have that attitude."

"We were told when we were hired, 'don't let her see the whites of your eyes or she could point and fire you,'" Zimmerman said, "So I always stood behind the tallest person on set."

In spite of the environment, however, Zimmerman — the person behind the Roseanne episode where the main character kisses another woman — said he never heard her say anything like the racist tweet that led to ABC cancelling the controversial reboot.

"I don't know what happened to her," he said. "The person that I knew, that we worked with, was a champion for the underdog, for people of color, especially the LGBT community. ABC was not going to air our [lesbian kiss] episode, and she went to them, with Tom Arnoldand said 'if you don't air it, I'll buy time on HBO and I will put the episode on."

"I cannot get into the heart or mind of Roseanne," Zimmerman concluded, "Unless I have some Ambien, perhaps."

Watch below, via CNN: