In a statement released Friday, CBS said that Osbourne has decided to leave the show partially because a broadcast on March 10 was “upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home.”
According to the network: “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.”
It started when co-host Sheryl Underwood asked Osbourne, “What would you say to people who may feel that while you’re standing by your friend, it appears that you give validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist?”
Osbourne wasn’t happy with the line of questioning.
“I feel even 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 proclaimed. “How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life?”
The next day, Osbourne apologized on Twitter, saying, “Please hear me when I say I do not condone racism, misogyny or bullying. I will always support freedom of speech, but now I see how I unintentionally didn’t make that clear distinction.”
“The Talk” has been on hiatus since March 15 while the network conducted an internal review.
Although Osbourne accused producers of setting her up as a “sacrificial lamb” by giving her fellow panelists a hot-button topic without advance notice, the network said it “did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
Still, the network acknowledged that “it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race.”
CBS said it plans to coordinate 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,” its statement read.
Despite Osbourne’s claims she’s never been racist, journalist Yashar Ali reported that Osbourne had a record of insulting former co-hosts Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert on the basis of their race or sexual orientation.
Ali reported that multiple sources, including former co-host Leah Remini, said Osbourne referred to Chen, who is Chinese American, as “wonton” and “slanty eyes,” and to Gilbert, who is lesbian, as “pussy licker” and “fish eater.”
Osbourne denied the allegation through her publicist Howard Bragman, who told Ali, “the only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host.”
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