Sharon Osbourne has exited The Talk.
CBS announced the British-American TV personality will not return to the daytime talk show following allegations of misconduct and racism. Osbourne, who has served on the show’s panel since its 2011 premiere, received widespread backlash for comments made during an episode earlier this month. The 68-year-old defended ex-Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan after he was slammed for criticizing Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah. The Duchess of Sussex claimed she had experienced racism within the Royal family and began having suicidal thoughts due to her mistreatment. Morgan said he didn’t believe Markle’s claims.
Osbourne defended Morgan during a March 10 of The Talk, which ignited her tense exchange with co-host Sheryl Underwood. At one point during the conversation, Osbourne demanded Underwood, who is Black, to “educate” her on why many people believe Morgan was a racist.
“Did I like everything [Morgan] said? Did I agree with what he said? No,” Osbourne said. “It’s not my opinion … I support him for his freedom of speech, and he’s my friend … I very much feel 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?”
Shortly after the episode, viewers began calling on CBS to fire Osbourne from the show. The network announced it had launched an internal investigation into the matter.
The controversy grew last week when journalist Yashar Ali published a report about Osbourne’s alleged misconduct during her time on The Talk. The piece cited multiple sources, including former co-host Leah Remini, who accused Osbourne of making racist and homophobic comments behind the scenes.
CBS did not allude to Ali’s report when announcing Osbourne’s departure, but said the March 10 episode was the primary factor in the decision.
The network released the following statement to Deadline:
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. We also 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.
During this week’s hiatus, we are coordinating 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.
The Talk will return with new episodes beginning April 12.