Sharon Osbourne LEAVES The Talk amid race controversy after defending Piers Morgan for saying he did not believe Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview
Sharon Osbourne has left The Talk following a dispute over her defense of Piers Morgan’s criticism of Meghan Markle, CBS confirmed in a statement on Friday.
Osbourne, 68, ended her more than a decade with the daytime chat show following the heated on-air debate on March 10, which sent the production into a hiatus that has lasted two weeks.
The controversy began when Osbourne delivered a vociferous defense of her friend Piers Morgan, who quit Good Morning Britain after furious criticism of his staunch insistence that he did not believe Markle’s explosive claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Allegations then emerged that Osbourne made racist remarks about co-hosts behind the scenes at The Talk, claims which she has staunchly denied.
Sharon Osbourne (center) has left The Talk after a controversy that began with her on-air defense of Piers Morgan, who said he did not believe Meghan Markle
‘Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk,’ CBS said in a statement confirming her departure. ‘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,’ the statement continued.
‘We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts,’ CBS said, responding to allegations from Osbourne’s camp that she was ‘set up to fail’ by being spurred into the debate by producers.
‘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 added.
‘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,’ CBS said.
Osbourne had reportedly cited clauses in her contract to demand millions in severance if she were forced to quit, but it was not immediately clear whether CBS had agreed to pay out.
The controversy stems from Markle’s remarks in the Oprah interview, in which she accused the Royal Family of racism and said she was driven to suicidal thoughts which were dismissed by the Palace.
Morgan stormed off of Good Morning Britain after saying he believed none of her claims, and ultimately quit the ITV show.
On The Talk, Osbourne defended Morgan in an on-air debate with co-host Sheryl Underwood, which turned heated.
‘Educate me, tell me when you have heard him say racist things,’ Osbourne said of Morgan to Underwood, who is black.
‘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?’ Osbourne added.
Developing story, more to follow.