Sharon Osbourne is parting ways with CBS’ “The Talk” after the show went on hiatus to investigate Osbourne’s controversial exchange with co-host Sheryl Underwood.
“Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk,” the network said in a statement to USA TODAY Friday. “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.”
During the exchange, Osbourne said she felt as though she was “about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist and that makes me a racist,” referring to Piers Morgan, her former “America’s Got Talent” co-judge, who said he didn’t “believe a word” of Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
USA TODAY has reached out to Osbourne for comment.
Morgan called “what’s happened” to Osbourne “an absolute disgrace that shames CBS” in a Saturday tweet, writing that she was “bullied out of her job for defending me against an invented slur of racism because I don’t believe a liar.”
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When Underwood asked what she would say to people who felt it was racist to defend Morgan’s comments, Osbourne replied: “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?”
Underwood sent the show to a commercial as Osbourne continued speaking loudly over her. Upon returning, Osbourne again prodded Underwood to “educate me,” adding, “Don’t try and cry because if anyone should be crying, it should be me.”
The next day on Twitter, Osbourne apologized to “to anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said.” “The Talk” went on hiatus while CBS conducted an internal review of the heated discussion.
The network extended the talk show’s hiatus days later as some of Osbourne’s former co-hosts, including Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini, accused Osbourne of racist behavior. Osbourne claimed on March 16 that she was being set up and sent out as the show’s “sacrificial lamb” for defending Morgan.
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On Friday, CBS announced that it “did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
“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,” the statement continued.
CBS said the show is “coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew” while off air. “The Talk” will return March 29.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Osbourne had served as a moderator on “The Talk” since 2010.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Elise Brisco, Charles Trepany
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