Late last week, CBS announced that its investigation into allegations of racism and bullying by Sharon Osbourne had culminated with her leaving The Talk. Attributing that decision to Osbourne herself, the company said its internal review had “concluded” that her behavior “did not align with our values for a respectful workplace.” Reports emerged shortly thereafter claiming that Osbourne had maybe, possibly wrangled herself several million dollars to make the exit — a rumor CBS adamantly denies. “False, inaccurate, or untrue,” a spokesperson told the Cut in a statement. “Take your pick.”
The rebuttal comes in response to a “Page Six” source, who claimed this week that “Sharon is walking away with a $5 to $10 million minimum payout.” Not only that, the source noted, but she “was able to spin that it was her decision” not to stay. A separate “Page Six” source reportedly confirmed that she would receive a large sum, adding: “Sharon will talk when she is ready. She still wants to give her side of the story. She has been on that show for 11 years and knows all the secrets.” This sounds eerily similar to the assessment of another unnamed “Page Six” informant, who previously intimated that, although Osbourne believed she would be fired as a result of the internal probe, she had also hired a big-shot entertainment lawyer to ensure that “the network will have to pay her a sizable settlement to keep her quiet after this,” because “she knows where all the bodies are buried.”
By “all this,” the informant surely meant the talkshow host’s recent spiral, set in motion by her solidarity with noted troll Piers Morgan following Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview. Morgan huffed off the set of Good Morning Britain when faced with criticism of his exceedingly disparaging coverage of Markle. Shortly thereafter, according to ITV, he “decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain.” Osbourne then tweeted her support for Morgan, writing: “People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth.”
Yet Morgan’s “truth” struck enough people as offensive to generate over 41,000 Ofcom complaints. When Osbourne’s co-host on The Talk, Sheryl Underwood, attempted to explain, on-air, that staunchly standing up for Morgan “gives validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist,” Osbourne lost it. “I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair,” she snipped, before demanding that Underwood — who is Black — “educate” her about Morgan’s alleged racism, adding: “Don’t try and cry ’cause if anyone should be crying it should be me.”
Osbourne’s subsequent apology (explaining that she “panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive and allowed [her] fear and horror of being accused of being racist to take over”) did little to help the situation. Her former co-host, Holly Robinson Peete, recalled the time Osbourne allegedly “complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #TheTalk … then I was gone.” CBS put The Talk on hiatus while it looked into the matter.
Meanwhile, Osbourne denied Peete’s account, just as she denied allegations, reportedly corroborated by 11 people, that she had often called Julie Chen — who appeared on The Talk from 2010 to 2018, and who is Chinese American — “wonton” and “slanty eyes.” Her publicist called the assertions “lies,” explaining: “The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host.” Hmmm. Perhaps we will soon find out!
This story has been updated to include a statement from CBS denying rumors that Osbourne will receive a payout.