Sharon Osbourne has left her position on the daytime talk show The Talk following a heated on-air conversation about race as well as accusations of racist comments that led to an internal investigation by CBS.
“Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk,” CBS said in a statement Friday (via The Hollywood Reporter). “The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
Osbourne’s exit stems from an on-air incident March 10th where Osbourne launched a staunch defense of her friend Piers Morgan, who similarly parted ways with the British morning show he was on due to his comments critical of Meghan Markle.
During the heated conversation, Osbourne — who had been on the show for 11 seasons —demanded of co-host Sheryl Underwood, “Educate me, tell me when you have heard him say racist things… I very much feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend, who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist?”
When asked how she would respond to people who said it was racist to defend Morgan’s comments, Osbourne said, “For me, at 68 years of age to have to turn around and say ‘I ain’t racist’ – what’s it got to do with me? How could I be racist about anybody? How could I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”
Following Osbourne’s exchange with Underwood, The Talk went into a two-week hiatus, and Osbourne apologized for the incident. “To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry,” Osbourne wrote in a statement. “I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over.”
However, during The Talk’s hiatus, former co-host Holly Robinson Peete accused Osbourne of complaining to producers that Robinson Peete was “too ghetto,” leading to her dismissal from the show. Leah Remini, another former co-host, then stepped forward with claims that Osbourne made racist remarks against former co-host Julie Chen and homophobic remarks about actress and The Talk creator Sara Gilbert. Through her spokesperson, Osbourne denied the allegations, CNN reported.
The Talk was originally scheduled to return March 17th but was again put on hiatus due to the NCAA basketball tournament. With a March 30th return looming, CBS announced Friday that Osbourne wouldn’t return to the talk show, with The Talk now scheduled to air new episodes starting April 12th.
CBS added Friday, “We acknowledge the network and studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race. During this week’s hiatus, we are coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew. Going forward, we are identifying plans to enhance the producing staff and producing procedures to better serve the hosts, the production and, ultimately, our viewers.”
From Rolling Stone US