Sharon Osbourne leaving ‘The Talk’ amid allegations of racism
Sharon Osbourne, longtime co-host of CBS’s “The Talk,” will be leaving the daytime program following an internal review of a heated conversation on race earlier this month, the network announced Friday.
CBS said in a statement shared with The Hill that Osbourne had decided to leave the show.
The network added that the March 10 segment, in which Osbourne clashed with co-host Sheryl Underwood over Osbourne’s support of former “Good Morning, Britain” host Piers Morgan following his exit from the show, was “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,” the statement added.
“We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts,” the statement continued, seemingly referring to claims last week from Osbourne that she was “set up” by her co-hosts when they asked her questions regarding her support for Morgan.
“At the same time, 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,” CBS added.
The network, which announced earlier this month that “The Talk” would be going on hiatus as it conducted its internal review, said Friday it was using the pause to coordinate “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,” CBS added.
Osbourne, who has worked on the show for 11 seasons, is the last of original 2010 co-hosts to leave the series.
The controversial segment earlier this month erupted after the co-hosts discussed Morgan’s departure from his show following criticism of him not believing aspects of Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, including that the Duchess of Sussex had suicidal thoughts.
Underwood asked Osbourne, who the day before had tweeted a message supporting Morgan for “speaking your truth,” to explain what she would say to those who viewed her support for Morgan to be racist.
“I feel even 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. And for me, at 68 years of age, to have to turn around say, ‘I ain’t racist’ — what’s that got to do with me?” Osbourne said. “How can I be racist about anybody? How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”
Osbourne has since faced allegations of using racist and homophobic slurs when talking to her co-hosts.
Journalist Yashar Ali last week reported that Osbourne would frequently refer to her then-co-host Julie Chen, who is Chinese American, as “wonton” and “slanty eyes,” and also referred to former co-host and executive producer Sara Gilbert, who is a lesbian, as “p—- licker” and “fish eater.”
Osbourne’s publicist Howard Bragman pushed back on the accusations, writing in a statement, “Sharon is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history and the bitterness coming out at this moment.”
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