Sharon Osbourne is opening up about her tense discussion with co-host Sheryl Underwood on “The Talk.”
In an interview with Variety, the daytime talk show host claimed CBS “blindsided” her with questions about defending Piers Morgan after he came under fire for criticizing Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah.
“I blame the network for it,” Sharon told the publication on Friday, March 12. “I was blindsided, totally blindsided by the whole situation. In my 11 years, this was the first time I was not involved with the planning of the segment.”
According to the 68-year-old star, the showrunners asked her “eight minutes before the show aired” on Wednesday, March 10 if she felt comfortable talking about Piers.
“I said, ‘Sure, they can ask me whatever,'” Sharon recalled of the alleged conversation. “But then I get on there, I say my piece and Sheryl turns around straight-faced, looks at me and is reading from a card with questions.”
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“I was just so hurt,” Sharon continued, “caught off-guard and stunned by what I was being asked and not prepared. I was honestly in shock. I felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter…They had me there for 20 minutes.”
On Wednesday’s episode, tensions were high after Sharon came to Piers’ defense. One day prior, the British television personality exited “Good Morning Britain” following backlash over his Meghan comments.
“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?” Sharon lashed out, as Sheryl tried to explain that she “gave validation” to Piers’ remarks by publicly supporting him.
“It was not the exact words of racism, it’s the implications and reaction to it,” Sheryl told Sharon. “To not want to address that she is a Black woman and to try to dismiss it or to make it seem less than what it is, that’s what makes it racist.”
“Right now,” Sheryl continued, “I’m talking to a woman who I believe is my friend and I don’t want anybody here to watch this and say that we’re attacking you for being racist.”
Sharon replied, “It’s too late. I think that seed’s already sowed.”
Their conversation instantly made headlines and went viral online. Sharon told Variety, “I’m a big girl. I’m a professional. However, CBS blindsided me. I don’t know why they did it to me. The showrunners told me it came from executives to do this to me.”
E! News has reached out to both “The Talk” and Sheryl for comment on Sharon’s latest claims. At this time, we have yet to receive a response.
On Friday, however, CBS told E! News in a statement, “We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace. All matters related to the Wednesday episode of ‘The Talk’ are currently under internal review.”
Additionally, a source who works for the daytime talk show told E! News that Black staff members are “incredibly upset” over Sharon and Sheryl’s heated exchange.
“They feel completely unsupported by CBS,” the insider shared, adding, “Several employees reached out to HR after Wednesday’s show because of the way Sharon Osbourne handled the conversation. Sharon’s defense of Piers Morgan felt like a triggering moment and it was very difficult for many of the staff to watch.”
“Black employees feel like they don’t have a voice,” the source claimed. “They feel like this situation is just the latest in a line of micro-aggressions that happens on the show.”
As the insider noted, “Sharon was very angry and it felt, to some of the staff, as if only Sharon’s feelings mattered. Producers spoke to all the hosts individually and let them know Sharon wasn’t in a place to apologize and that she wouldn’t be addressing anything in the show.”
The “Osbournes” star issued an apology on March 12, saying she “panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive” and allowed her “fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over.”
“I have always been embraced with so much love & support from the Black community & I have deep respect & love for the Black community,” she wrote in part. “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.”
“There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast,” she added. “I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better. Please hear me when I say I do not condone racism, misogyny or bullying.”