Sharon Osbourne Exits The Talk amid Controversy, CBS Says Her Behavior Didn't 'Align with Our Values'
In a statement on Friday, CBS announced Osbourne's exit from the daytime talk show. Her departure comes after the series extended its hiatus for a second time, PEOPLE confirmed, as the network continued to look into Osbourne's behavior following her controversial defense of Piers Morgan on the March 10 episode.
"Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk," the statement begins.
"The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. 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. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts," it continues.
"At the same time, we acknowledge the Network and Studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race," the statement reads.
It concludes: "During this week's hiatus, we are coordinating 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."
The Talk was initially put on a two-day hiatus before the break was extended. The show was scheduled to return March 22, but will now return April 12 following a pre-scheduled hiatus the week of April 5.
During the March 10 episode, Osbourne, 68, defended Morgan amid backlash for his controversial remarks questioning the validity of Meghan Markle's discussion on mental health during her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Following Morgan's departure, Osbourne defended him on Twitter, writing at the time, "I am with you. I stand by you."
Underwood, 57, later told Osbourne that she was downplaying the racial undertones of Morgan's remarks.
"Did I like everything he said? Did I agree with what he said? No," Osbourne argued on The Talk show. "Because it's his opinion. It's not my opinion ... I support him for his freedom of speech, and he's my friend."
Underwood then posed the question, "What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don't agree?"
Their conversation quickly turned emotional with Osbourne telling Underwood to "educate" her and warning her not to cry during the episode. "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?" Osbourne asked while on the verge of tears.
Addressing the situation that Friday, Underwood said on The Steve Harvey Morning Show: "I want to thank everybody all over the world in social media, everybody in radio, television, news, everywhere, everybody that reached out." She added that she received "prayers" and "love" from fans.
Osbourne later apologized for her "panicked" response to Underwood.
"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 on Twitter.
"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. I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over," Osbourne continued. "There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast. I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better."
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Osbourne added that does not "condone racism, misogyny or bullying," but rather was supporting Morgan's freedom of speech.
"Now I see how I unintentionally didn't make that clear distinction," she said. "I hope we can collectively continue to learn from each other & from ourselves so that we can all continue to pave the way for much needed growth & change."
Osbourne added, "I hope we can all hold each other up with accountability, compassion & love during this powerful time of paving the way for so much needed change."
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Since her controversial conversation with Underwood, Osbourne has been accused of additional instances of racism, homophobia and bullying on the set of The Talk, all of which she has denied.
On March 16, journalist Yashar Ali published a report alleging that Osbourne used several racial slurs while referring to her former The Talk co-host Julie Chen, citing multiple unnamed sources, including another former The Talk co-host, Leah Remini.
Osbourne called the claims "crap, all crap," in an interview first given to Daily Mail, but repeated the racist language. (PEOPLE confirmed the veracity of the quotes, as reported by The Daily Mail, and Osbourne shared a similar statement.)
Ali's report further claimed that Osbourne referred to former co-host and executive producer Sara Gilbert, who is lesbian, as "p---- licker" and "fish eater."
The week prior, Holly Robinson Peete, who exited the daytime talk show in 2011 following its first season, claimed that Osbourne had complained she was "too 'ghetto,'" and alleged that it played a role in her departure.
In a statement shared with PEOPLE following Ali's report, Osbourne's publicist, Howard Bragman, denied all the allegations against the British TV personality. That same day, CBS announced that The Talk would extend its production hiatus for a second time as they "continue to review these issues."
"CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions," reps for the show said in a statement to PEOPLE at the time. "We're also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on The Talk. This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary."