CBS announced Friday that Sharon Osbourne is leaving the network’s daytime talk show The Talk after she defended British TV news personality Piers Morgan following his controversial remarks concerning Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier in March.
The Talk has been on hiatus for nearly two weeks while CBS launched an investigation into the matter.
“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,” CBS said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Osbourne expressed her support on-air (and on social media) for her friend Morgan after he sharply criticized Markle’s remarks during the CBS interview with Winfrey.
Morgan, a longtime critic of Markle and Prince Harry, rejected Markle’s revelations that she experienced suicidal thoughts and after receiving pushback from his co-hosts, stormed off the set of ITV’s Good Morning Britain and left the show shortly thereafter.
During that March 10 broadcast, Osbourne became emotional and combative during a discussion with her co-host Sheryl Underwood about how her public support for Morgan was being perceived.
“I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist,” Osbourne told her co-hosts.
She later tweeted an apology saying she “panicked,” “felt blindsided” and then “got defensive” during her exchange with Underwood.
To add fuel to the fire, journalist Yashar Ali got former Talk co-host Leah Remini to say on the record that Osbourne frequently used racist and homophobic language while speaking about her former colleagues on the CBS panel show. Remini claimed that Osbourne referred to then-co-host Julie Chen, who is Chinese American, as “wonton” and “slanty eyes.” Osbourne also allegedly referred to former co-host and executive producer Sara Gilbert, who is a lesbian, as “p*ssy licker” and “fish eater,” according to more than one of Ali’s sources including Remini.
In addition getting Remini on the record, Ali used a number of unnamed sources for his piece.
“This story is based on conversations with 11 sources who spoke to me in 2018 and again in recent days about remarks Osbourne has made over the years,” he wrote.
Remini told Ali that in 2010, before the launch of the CBS panel show, Osbourne took Remini to lunch and tried to convince her to help Osbourne remove co-host Holly Robinson Peete. According to Remini, Osbourne told her that “Holly wasn’t a good person, not to trust her and that we should find ‘another Black person who is funny.’”
Osbourne reportedly based her opinion of Robinson Peete on the time she spent with her when they were both contestants on Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Donald Trump.
By the end of the first season of The Talk, both Robinson Peete and Remini were fired, “at the direction, according to multiple sources, of Osbourne,” Ali reported.
CBS says The Talk will return April 12. It remains to be seen who will replace Osbourne.