Sharon Osbourne is unsure if she wants to come back to ‘The Talk’ after hiatus amid drama surrounding her controversial on-air debate with Sheryl Underwood.
Sharon Osbourne confessed that she “doesn’t know” if she’ll return to The Talk amid the controversy surrounding a discussion about racism on the show. Amidst CBS putting The Talk on hiatus during an investigation into Sharon’s comments, the outspoken co-host, 68, said in a new interview that she’s hoping things can “work out.” She’s willing to speak about the incident on-air.
“I wish we could go on and have an adult conversation calmly and work it out but I don’t know whether we can,” Sharon said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t know whether it’s gone past that. I would love to but I don’t know whether I even want to go back… I don’t know whether I’m wanted there.”
The drama began when her co-host, Sheryl Underwood, suggested that people may think Sharon’s racist by defending Piers Morgan after he slammed Meghan Markle. Sharon erupted, challenging Sheryl to tell her why that would be racist: “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?”
The show quickly cut to commercial, but the heated conversation continued after the break. “I will ask you again, Sheryl, I was asking you during the break and I’m asking you again. And don’t try and cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me,” Sharon said, raising her voice. “This is the situation: you tell me where you have heard him say – educate me. Tell me when you have heard him say racist things. Educate me. Tell me.”
The backlash to Sharon’s comments was swift. She apologized with a lengthy statement on Instagram. “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,” The Osbournes star wrote on March 12. “I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive, and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over… I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better.”
Sharon has mentioned feeling “blindsided” by Sheryl’s questions more than once. Sharon told ET that a showrunner asked her eight minutes before taping the March 10 episode if she would be comfortable taking questions about Piers and how she’d feel if “maybe one of [the co-hosts] doesn’t agree with you.” She agreed to the segment.
“Sheryl turns around and asks me this question and… she was reading it off a card. It wasn’t on my cards. And then Elaine [Welteroth]’s reading her questions and I’m like, ‘I’ve been set up. They’re setting me up.’ My anger was like, ‘I cannot believe this, I’m your sacrificial lamb.'” She noted that she was especially shocked because all of the co-hosts made a pact on February 17 that they would never blindside each other on air.
“I was pissed with a friend,” Sharon said of her debate with Sheryl. “Pissed off with my friend for not giving me the heads up. But in hindsight she was doing her job… So, she did what she was asked to do, and I can’t blame her for that. On a personal side, I’m like, ‘Remember February 17 when we all said we wouldn’t do this to each other?’
“But the only thing I don’t understand with Sheryl was in the break, why she wouldn’t talk to me and just say, ‘Aww sh*t, let’s get out of this or something,’ and she didn’t. She wouldn’t talk to me. She turned her back and she was holding her finger in her ear like she was talking to a producer in her ear piece, but hey, it is what it is. I conducted myself really badly, really badly.”
Sharon noted in the interview that she also apologized to Sheryl directly. “I love Sheryl, I’ve apologized to Sheryl, she’s not gotten back and I can understand. Sheryl needs her time,” she said to ET. “I am not a racist and if you can’t have a go at your friend who happens to be Black, does that make me racist because I said certain things to my friend, but I said them on camera? I will keep on apologizing to Sheryl, even if I decide not to go back, I will still keep apologizing to Sheryl. I have nothing but respect and so much affection for Sheryl. I don’t want to hurt her.”
After The Talk incident, former co-host Holly Robinson Peete accused Sharon of once calling her “too ghetto” to host the show, which Sharon has denied. Sheryl broke her silence about her debate with Sharon on the March 12 episode of The Steve Harvey 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. We are the only race of people that carry the race wherever we go and we’re responsible for that,” Sheryl said, then thanking fans for their support online.
New reports of years of problematic behavior from Sharon surfaced after her ET interview. She denied the allegations in a March 16 statement via her publicist: “For 11 years Sharon has been kind, collegial, and friendly with her hosts as evidenced by throwing them parties, inviting them to her home in the UK, and other gestures of kindness too many to name.
“Sharon is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history, and the bitterness coming out at this moment. She will survive this, as she always has, and her heart will remain open and good, because she refuses to let others take her down. She thanks her family, friends and fans for standing by her and knowing her true nature.”
Sharon says that she would like to have an on-air conversation about the incident. “I very much want to listen to the youth,” Sharon told ET. “Do I have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the Black situation in this country? No… The ins and the outs of the way the younger generation feels right now, I don’t have my finger on the pulse… I own up to what I did. I can’t not own up. I said what I said. I got too personal with Sheryl. I should’ve never said stop her tears. She was hurting as I was hurting.”