Sharon Osbourne opened up about her exit during a one-on-one interview with Bill Maher

By Maria Pasquini
April 16, 2021 10:23 PM
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Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Sharon Osbourne has broken her silence about exiting The Talk.

Osbourne, 68, opened up about her departure from the daytime series on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. The news of her one-on-one in-studio interview with host Bill Maher was announced earlier this week.

During their conversation, Osbourne told Maher that she is upset at how the controversy unfolded.

"I'm angry, I'm hurt," she said when Maher asked how she's been feeling since her exit from The Talk. "I've been called so many things in my life… but a racist is one thing I will not take."

CBS announced Osbourne's departure from the talk show on March 26. Her exit came 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.

In a statement about Osbourne's exit from the show, CBS said that her behavior "did not align with our values."

"Sharon Osbourne has decided to leave The Talk," the statement read. "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," the statement continued. "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." 

In addition to "coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew," CBS also said that they "are identifying plans to enhance the producing staff and producing procedures to better serve the hosts, the production and, ultimately, our viewers."

Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne
| Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty

During the March 10 episode, Osbourne 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.

"She's entitled to her opinion, Piers is entitled to his," Osbourne told Maher on Friday of Morgan's comments about Markle. "And that's what it's all about."

She added, "Disagreeing with someone does not make you a racist in my book."

Osbourne's defense of Morgan on The Talk last month led to an intense exchange with co-host Sheryl Underwood, who pushed back on Osbourne's downplaying of Morgan's comments.  

Osbourne later apologized for her "panicked" response to Underwood.

"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," she wrote on Twitter. "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."

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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The British TV personality has also been the subject of claims that she used racist, homophobic and bullying language in her interactions with former co-hosts Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini, Sara Gilbert and Julie Chen — all of which she has denied.

Osbourne told Maher Friday that she "never ever" used a slur referring to Remini.

"I don't even use those words," she said. "They're not in my vocabulary." 

Of past feuds with former The Talk co-hosts, Osbourne said: "It's disgruntled ladies."

On March 16, journalist Yashar Ali published a report alleging that Osbourne used several racial slurs while referring to Chen, citing multiple unnamed sources as well as 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 Gilbert, who is lesbian, as a "p---- licker" and "fish eater."

The week prior, 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.

RELATED VIDEO: Sherri Shepherd Reacts to Sharon Osbourne's Controversial Conversation with Sheryl Underwood on The Talk

In a statement shared with PEOPLE following Ali's report, Osbourne's publicist, Howard Bragman, denied all the allegations against her. CBS later announced that The Talk would extend its production hiatus 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."

The Talk returned on Monday following a month-long hiatus. Remaining co-hosts Underwood, Carrie Ann Inaba, Elaine Welteroth and Amanda Kloots had an open discussion about "race and healing." While opening the show with a pre-recorded message, Underwood stated that the episode would be "unlike any other we've had before" as the co-hosts "process the events" from the March 10 episode.

Underwood said during the discussion that she didn't want "to escalate things" at the time. "I thought I was having a conversation with a friend, but also I knew I had to be an example," she said, noting that she "didn't want to be perceived as the angry Black woman" and "wanted to remain calm and remain focused."