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Sharon Osbourne is out at `The Talk' amid controversy

Sharon Osbourne
Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 26, 2021

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - CBS confirmed Friday that the "The Talk" will go on without Sharon Osbourne, who is leaving after nearly 11 years on the daytime talk show in the wake of a controversy that erupted over her defense of comments made by Piers Morgan regarding the Meghan Markle/Oprah Winfrey interview and accusations of racism leveled against her by former co-hosts.

RELATED: 'The Talk' reportedly on hiatus while CBS investigates exchange between Osbourne, Underwood

"The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home," the network said in a statement announcing that Osbourne would not be returning. "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."

The show was on hiatus this week, and new episodes will resume April 12.

During the hiatus, CBS said it has been "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."

During the March 10 broadcast, a heated debate erupted over Osbourne's support of fellow Brit Morgan, who is an outspoken critic of the Duchess of Sussex.

Co-host Sheryl Underwood asked her, "What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist? Even if you don't agree."

Osbourne said she felt "like I'm about to be put in the electric chair," adding, "How could I be racist about anybody or anything in my life?" The next day, she released a statement, saying, "To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry."

"I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over," she wrote. "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."

The network responded last Friday by announcing "all matters related to" the March 10 episode were "under internal review."

Osbourne, 68, reacted by telling Variety that "CBS blindsided me" and that the ``showrunners told me it came from executives to do this to me." And she told ``Entertainment Friday evening" that she wanted to return to the show ``but I don't know whether I even want to go back... I don't know whether I'm wanted there."

RELATED: CBS' 'The Talk' to remain off-air for another week amid Sharon Osbourne controversy

Former co-stars Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete subsequently alleged that Osbourne had made racist comments, including using offense language to describe former co-hosts Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert.

Osbourne's publicist dismissed the allegations, calling Remini a ``disgruntled former talk show host" and saying Osbourne ``is disappointed but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history and the bitterness coming out at this moment."