The uproar surrounding The Talk co-host Sharon Osbourne is not exactly dying down. Following Osbourne's defense of Piers Morgan after he himself was accused of racism toward Meghan Markle, more has come out about Osbourne's past controversial behavior—lots more. In an extensive Substack piece, journalist Yashar Ali shares what he learned from 11 sources he spoke to back in 2018 (when he was investigating the then-head of CBS, the network on which The Talk airs, Les Moonves) and again recently. Most spoke to him anonymously, citing fear of career retribution or non-disparagement clauses they signed, but Osbourne's former co-host Leah Remini went on record. More from his piece and other recent developments in the controversy:
- Remini accuses Osbourne of using some pretty shocking language, including racial and ethnic slurs, against herself, former co-host Julie Chen, and former co-host Sara Gilbert (see Ali's story for the exact terms allegedly used). She also claims Osbourne tried to rally Remini to her side to get former co-host Holly Robinson Peete fired, as well as to marginalize Chen.
- Speaking of Robinson Peete, who is Black, she tweeted Friday that Osbourne said she was too "ghetto" for the show, and Ali notes that Osbourne was allegedly instrumental in Robinson Peete's ouster after the first season. Speaking to Variety after that tweet, Osbourne claimed she's never used the word "ghetto" other than to refer to the Warsaw Ghetto, and does not have the authority to get anyone fired.
- Ali begs to differ on both of those points: He tweeted a 2011 clip from The Talk in which Osbourne calls Remini "ghetto" for the way she's speaking, and he notes that while Osbourne may not technically have contractual authority to terminate anyone, she has wielded "enormous influence" at the show.
- Ali also brings up controversial incidents from Osbourne's past, including her claims in 2018 that Markle "ain't Black!" and "doesn't look Black"; bigoted comments regarding Black people; allegations that she referred to an Iranian-American talent agent with ethnic slurs and falsely accused her of stealing jewelry; and more.
- CBS had originally put The Talk on hiatus through Tuesday, returning Wednesday, but following Ali's story, the network said it will extend the hiatus an additional week as it continues to look into the incident.
- Osbourne went on ET following Ali's story, and reiterated the claims she originally made to Variety that she was "set up" by the show's producers and her fellow hosts to be the "sacrificial lamb" on this issue. Host Kevin Frazier—who suggested Robinson Peete and Sheryl Underwood (the current co-host with whom Osbourne clashed over Morgan), both of whom are Black, join Osbourne for some sort of "summit" on racism—is being criticized by some for a "softball" interview, per Ali.
- Osbourne's rep also issued a statement to CNN and other outlets: "The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host. 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."
- On Osbourne's side: Donald Trump Jr., who on Monday retweeted a Piers Morgan tweet throwing shade at CBS for pulling The Talk.
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