After over a decade on talk show The Talk, Sharon Osbourne appears to have pulled the thread that may pull apart her whole empire with an impassioned defense of Piers Morgan’s right to slam Meghan Markle as a liar at the very moment when the rest of the world had had enough of his racist, baseless bullying of the Duchess on air. When Osbourne’s co-host Sheryl Underwood tried to educate her on why that defense perpetuated racist views — in this case, the right of Morgan to hold Meghan to a standard he held no other royal while tearing apart attempts to defend herself and flatly denying her claims of racist treatment — Osbourne demonstrated a remarkable inability to place herself in another’s shoes. Now, a new report by journalist Yashar Ali, to whom 11 sources including ex-Talk co-host Leah Remini recently confirmed remarks, shows that Osbourne’s on-air denial of racist behavior may have been a cover for years of alleged bullying and using racist slurs to refer to coworkers. And as Ali points out, one doesn’t have to look beyond past segments of The Talk to see evidence of concerning behavior from Osbourne.
Remini spoke with Ali to back up another former Talk co-host’s claims: those tweeted by Holly Robinson Peete in light of Osbourne’s confrontation with Underwood.
“I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too “ghetto” for #theTalk…then I was gone,” she tweeted. “I bring this up now bc I was mortified watching the disrespectful condescending tone she took w/her co host who remained calm & respectful because…she HAD to.”
Remini backed up Robinson Peete’s allegation that Osbourne had had her fired from the show, claiming as she had years prior that Osbourne had tried to recruit her to oust Robinson Peete from the start and that she regretted not speaking out sooner about Osbourne’s behavior.
"Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it." @MichelleObama https://t.co/JehkfALC5y
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) May 30, 2020
Here are two quotes that Remini provided to Ali that were allegedly said by Osbourne, the first regarding then-co-host Julie Chen and her husband, CBS CEO Les Moonves: “I mean, who the fuck does slanty eyes think she is? She shouldn’t be pillow-talking with our boss.”
The second quote refers to former co-host and producer Sara Gilbert, a lesbian who was allegedly taunted with Osbourne’s homophobic slurs, like the following: “Why won’t the pussy licker do anything about the wonton?”
In response to the claims reported by Ali, Osbourne’s publicist Howard Bragman gave this statement: “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.”
Osbourne has also tweeted her own denial of both Robinson Peete’s claims specifically and the claims of abusive treatment levied at her at large. But as Ali points out, publicly available past clips from the show show troubling signs of Osbourne’s inclinations. After Osbourne refuted Robinson Peete’s claim by saying she had never used the word “ghetto” in that sense, Ali reviewed a 2011 clip that showed her calling Remini “ghetto” for the way she spoke.
More recently, in 2018, Osbourne said of Meghan Markle: “She ain’t Black!”
Per Ali, “When her co-hosts told Osbourne that she was indeed Black, Osbourne said, ‘She doesn’t look Black.'”
"I don’t know the first thing about what it's like to be a royal, but I do know that every word Meghan uttered struck a chord in the hearts of any Brown or Black female who’s ever been involved with a white man and his family." https://t.co/owbYBjey7F
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) March 12, 2021
It’s this certainty of Osbourne’s that she can deem who does and does not belong to another race and who may or may not be accused of racism that runs through both her on-air gaffes and the allegations of past racist behavior. Osbourne’s alleged comments are so forthright as to be shocking, understood only when realizing that Osbourne must have believed herself to truly be immune from claims of bigotry.
Whatever evidence she supposed she had, suffice it to say the public has found it lacking. Evidence of prejudice, however, can be found throughout Osbourne’s past.
Before you go, click here to see family feuds we can’t believe played out in public.