Sharon Osbourne, 68, says she was “blinded” by her explosive on-air clash with Sheryl Underwood, 57, on the March 10 episode of The Talk. “I was blindsided, totally blindsided by the whole situation. In my 11 years, this was the first time I was not involved with the planning of the segment,” Sharon — who has been a host of the CBS talk show since its debut back in 2011 — said to Variety on March 13. She says she “begged them to stop, to please change the subject,” as they went to break during the first part of the fiasco, which involved her defense of Piers Morgan.
Sharon has been a longtime friend of the controversial Good Morning Britain host, who abruptly walked off the air then quit over an on-air disagreement pertaining to Meghan Markle‘s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. Piers has stood by his opinion, and Sharon initially posted a message of support for the 55-year-old host — which lead to the viral segment on The Talk. “I blame the network for it,” Sharon went on, explaining that approximately eight minutes before taping Wednesday’s show, producers asked if they could bring up Piers. “I said, ‘Sure, they can ask me whatever.’ But then I get on there, I say my piece and Sheryl turns around straight-faced, looks at me and is reading from a card with questions,” she added.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 10, 2021
At that point, Sharon admits she felt “hurt” and “cut off guard” by Sheryl, who joined the show in season two after Leah Remini‘s departure. “I was just so hurt, caught off guard and stunned by what I was being asked and not prepared. I was honestly in shock,” the Unbreakable author admitted. “I felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter. … They had me there for 20 minutes,” she added, placing blame on the network.
Piers Morgan walks off GMTV during argument with weatherman Alex Beresford over Meghan Markle comments pic.twitter.com/MuWwgZgCH9
— Phantom Power (@PhantomPower14) March 9, 2021
“I blame the network for it,” she told the magazine. “I’m a big girl. I’m a professional…However CBS blindsided me. I don’t know why they did it to me. The showrunners told me it came from executives to do this to me,” she alleged. Shortly after the segment aired, former host Holly Robinson Peete, 56, claimed that Sharon had once referred to her as “ghetto” — alleging she was “gone” from the show as a result (along with Leah, Holly departed the show after the first season).
“I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #theTalk…then I was gone,” Holly tweeted. “I bring this up now [because] I was mortified watching the disrespectful, condescending tone she took w/her co-host, who remained calm & respectful because…she HAD to.” In response, CBS released a statement saying the incident was under “internal review” and that they are “committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace.”
I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too “ghetto” for #theTalk…then I was gone💨
I bring this up now bc I was mortified watching the disrespectful condescending tone she took w/her co host who remained calm & respectful because…she HAD to🤦🏽♀️ 🤷🏽♀️#fbf https://t.co/7pnCnhM5rf pic.twitter.com/CXR4DzvlEZ
— Holly Robinson Peete😷🥰 (@hollyrpeete) March 12, 2021
During the segment between Sheryl and Sharon, both women got emotional as they tackled the issue of race. “I feel like I’m being put in an electric chair…For me, at 68 years of age to have to turn around and say ‘I ain’t racist’…How could I be racist about anybody?” she said. “You tell me — educate me — tell me when you have heard [Piers] say racist things,” she then said to Sheryl, who was seated to her left.
“To not want to address [Piers Morgan’s comments] because [Meghan Markle] is a Black woman, and to try to dismiss it or to make it seem less than what it is, that’s what makes it racist,” Sheryl replied. “But right now, I’m talking to a woman who I believe is my friend and I don’t want anybody here to watch this and say that we’re attacking you for being racist…but right now, I am looking at a woman I call my friend,” she then explained.
After the episode aired, Sharon issued a heart felt apology on social media. “I have always been embraced with so much love and support from the Black community and I have deep respect and love for the Black community. To anyone of color that I offend and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I say, I am truly sorry,” she wrote on March 12. “I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive, and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over…There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast! I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better. Please hear me when I say I do not condone racism, misogyny or bullying,” she wrote.
For her part, Sheryl addressed the incident on Steve Harvey‘s morning show. “I just wanted to be a better example for people that are working just a regular old job, that had to compose themselves,” she said on Friday, Mar. 12. “We are the only race of people that carry the race wherever we go and we’re responsible for that,” Sheryl added, thanking those who expressed support for her on social media.