Sharon Osbourne Brands America's Got Talent a Boys' Club and Says 'NBC Can Kiss My Ass'
"The boys take care of each other and the women are not paid as much as the men," Osbourne said during Tuesday's episode of The Talk
Just one day after opening up about her own experience as a judge on the NBC reality competition series, Osbourne, 67, elaborated on her thoughts during Tuesday’s episode of The Talk.
While speaking to her fellow co-hosts, Osbourne claimed that AGT was very much a “boys’ club” where the female judges were not treated equally in comparison to their male counterparts.
“It is a boys’ club, okay, it is,” she said. “And the boys take care of each other and the women are not paid as much as the men.”
Osbourne, who was on the show from season 2 through 7, went on to note that she was brought on as a judge before Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel but said she was never treated as well as them, even despite the positive ratings that she claimed she brought in.
“I was on the show before Howie. I was one of them that helped put the show where it was. Simon wasn’t on the show,” she said. “Simon owns the show and the time I was there, Simon was never on the show. So when the show was doing 16 million, 14 million, Simon was never there.”
She went on to allege that Mandel, 64, received better travel accommodations than she had as soon as he joined the series.
“They brought Howie in. He got his own plane,” she said, before clarifying, “I love Howie, and I don’t begrudge anyone earning what they earn… But, when my old ass has been there shooting the show, and I get an American Airlines ticket and he gets a private plane. And I get that because I’m me and I’m not in the club and I’m not one of the guys… NBC can kiss my ass.”
Osbourne said it was also a boys’ club on Cowell’s United Kingdom show The X Factor which he was a judge alongside record executive L.A. Reid.
“In between them was Demi Lovato and Britney Spears. The guys looked like two high rollers in Vegas who picked up a couple of kids. They looked like dirty old men beside these two little girls,” Osbourne said. “I told L.A. Reid and I told Simon, it’s nothing I wouldn’t say to their face.”
“These are kids,” she added. “They can’t be judging other kids no matter how successful they are!”
Representatives for NBC and Cowell did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Osbourne’s comments come one day after a source told PEOPLE that Cowell, 60, “runs the show” and gets what he asks for a majority of the time.
“It’s true that America’s Got Talent is a boys’ club. Simon runs the show and as long as he’s there, he will continue to do so,” said the source.
“Everything goes by him and he’s rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” the source explained, adding that people who work on the show will rarely “tell him, ‘no.’”
That same day, Osbourne weighed in on Union’s departure and her time on the show, revealing on The Talk, “Everybody’s experience on a show is different, and I was at that show for six years. I didn’t get let go.”
Osbourne went on to explain that it wasn’t the show itself that pushed her to leave, but instead the network NBC.
“I left. And that’s the truth. I left because NBC, not because of the show. I had my own problems with the network. I don’t know about any of her concerns about the show,” Osbourne said of Union’s grievances. “Obviously, there wasn’t anybody of color on the panel when I was there. So, I honestly can’t say. But when I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on.”
“The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network,” Osbourne added.
NBC’s controversy started last month just days after news broke that Union, 47, and Julianne Hough — who joined the season 14 AGT judging panel back in February, replacing spots vacated by Mel B and Heidi Klum — would not be returning for the show’s upcoming 15th season. (It has yet to be announced who will replace Hough and Union for the upcoming season.)
On Nov. 26, a report by Variety claimed that while working on the show, Union had expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge, including a joke guest judge Jay Leno allegedly made that was later edited out of the episode.
Union and Hough, 31, were also both subject to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, sources alleged in Variety‘s report.
A spokesperson for NBC and Fremantle previously responded to the claims with a statement to PEOPLE on Nov. 26: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show.” The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
Union broke her silence on her controversial departure last Wednesday, thanking her followers for their support during this difficult time. “So many tears, so much gratitude,” she tweeted. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”
On Sunday, Syco Entertainment, which produces AGT, released a joint statement with NBC and production company Fremantle. “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” said the statement, obtained by PEOPLE.
“We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate,” the statement concluded.
On Monday, Leno spoke out for the first time since the allegations surfaced, telling TMZ, “I love Gabrielle Union. She’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her. She’s really good.”
When asked if she was treated fairly on the hit competition series, Leno said, “I don’t know … but I think she’s a great girl.”
In a statement to Variety last week, Hough denied that she had a negative experience working on the show. “I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” said Hough, who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
Representatives for Hough, Union and Leno have yet to respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.