Sharon Osbourne was a regular co-host on the CBS daytime series The Talk for more than 10 years, appearing in over 2,200 episodes. But in March 2021, the longtime co-host and TV personality, 68, announced that she would not be returning to the series. So what led to this decision? And why has did it create shockwaves on the set and become a major talking point on social media? Take a look at the comprehensive breakdown of the events below.
Sharon Osbourne Accused Of Racism & BullyingFormer co-hosts from The Talk came forward with allegations of racism and bullying in their interactions with Sharon. Holly Robinson Peete, was one of the more recent former co-hosts to come forward about her interactions with Sharon. “I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #theTalk…then I was gone,” Holly tweeted on March 12. “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,” Holly explained, referencing the March 10 episode that will be discussed in greater detail below.
Holly was on the show as a co-host at the same time as Leah Remini, who reiterated the type of environment she had to work in. “Sharon thought me and Holly were ‘ghetto’… we were not funny, awkward, and didn’t know ourselves,” Leah wrote in 2012, per Variety. “She has the power that was given to her.”
Leah also reportedly shared with journalist Yashar Ali that Sharon “would frequently refer to then-co-host Julie Chen, who is Chinese American, as ‘wonton’ and ‘slanty eyes.’” Other sources made claims that Sharon used derogatory language when referring to former co-host Sarah Gilbert, who identifies as a lesbian, referring to her as “p***y licker,” among other slurs. These claims and allegations surfaced following an explosive conversation between Sharon and co-host Sheryl Underwood on March 10.
‘The Talk’ ConversationDuring the March 10 episode of The Talk, Sharon got into a heated argument with Sheryl over Piers Morgan‘s comments about Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, following her March 7 sit-down interview with husband Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey. Sharon defended the harmful language Piers used to describe his opinion of Meghan following the bombshell interview, which featured Meghan becoming incredibly vulnerable in front of the world and discussing how she considered suicide during her time as a senior member of the Royal Family. When Piers was called out for his response, he stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain and subsequently exited the daytime series.
When the conversation shifted to Piers Morgan saying “racist things,” Sharon sounded off. “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?” Sharon and Sheryl eventually engaged on the topic. “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. “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,” Sharon demanded of Sheryl.
“To not want to address that because she 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 explained. “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. And for that, if I articulated anything — ” to this, Sharon interjected, interrupting Sheryl to say, “I think it’s too late. I think that seed is already sown.”
On March 12, Sharon released a statement on Instagram, in which she sought to apologize for her actions. “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,” an excerpt from the statement read.
“I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive, and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over,” she continued. “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.”
CBS RespondsIn the wake of the March 10 episode and further claims about Sharon’s alleged racism and bullying, CBS made the decision to launch an investigation on March 12. “We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace,” the network shared via email to HollywoodLife. “All matters related to the Wednesday episode of The Talk are currently under internal review.”
The network released another statement on March 16, in which they announced an extended production hiatus. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions,” the statement began, per Deadline. “We’re also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on The Talk. This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary. The show will extend its production hiatus until next Tuesday as we continue to review these issues.”
After two weeks of investigation, however, Sharon made the decision to quit The Talk, with CBS confirming the news on March 26. “Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk. 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,” a statement from the network shared with HL read.
CBS also shared that they did not “blindside” Sharon with the topic of discussion on the show’s March 10 episode. “We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts,” an excerpt from the statement read. While some, like Megyn Kelly and Piers Morgan, were disappointed by Sharon’s exit, others on social media felt that the consequence was the proper response for Sharon’s actions. It’s unclear what Sharon’s next steps will be moving forward.