It seemed obvious that Sharon Osbourne would have done a lot more for herself with a lot less during last week’s debacle of an attempt at a discussion about race on The Talk. But alas, the show is not called The Listen and regardless, Osbourne’s still out here talking.
On Tuesday, Entertainment Tonight ran an interview with Osbourne, who recalled thinking during her America’s Next Top Karen display last week, “This is the biggest setup ever, and I’m falling into it, and I’m going deeper down this hole.” The plunge, however, has yet to cease.
Osbourne told ET that her anger came from the fact that she hadn’t reviewed her co-hosts’ questions about her support of Piers Morgan during the two segments devoted to the discussion on the March 10 show. Osbourne claimed this violated a pact she had with her co-hosts. “We agreed we would never surprise each other with questions if we thought the other hadn’t been prepped,” she said. She said that Talk showrunners told her that “executives” devised the questions and implied that CBS had an agenda to push back on Osbourne’s support of Morgan, as the network had broadcast the Meghan Markle/Oprah Winfrey interview, whose content Morgan had taken exception to.
“I had sided with Piers,” she said. “So, it’s the cancel culture, isn’t it? Throw her under the bus.” Like many who decry cancel culture, Osbourne is claiming a free-speech crusade. “Me standing up for his right to speech has gotten me where I am today,” she said.
On one hand, it’s understandable that when you’ve been doing a show for 11 years, you get into a routine and any disruption of it might be jarring. “Blindsided” is how Osbourne described her reaction to the questioning in an interview that Variety ran last week. However, as someone who interviews people herself regularly at this very job, Osbourne must understand, at least conceptually, the worth of talking to someone who hasn’t been prepped with questions in advance. No pre-interview questions means virtually no time to curate and iron out one’s reactions—it means a greater likelihood of honesty, which is the ostensible point of this kind of public discussion, anyway. Isn’t Osbourne’s brand one of someone who tells it like it is while pulling no punches? Her anger seems to be coming from production’s refusal to save Osbourne from herself.
The unnamed “executives” that Osbourne is accusing of setting her up did two things right. They created compelling television that, a week later, we’re still talking about (when was the last time you could say that about anything that happened on The Talk?), and they extracted a telling reaction from Osbourne, whose rage seemed torn from the pages of The Karen Handbook, as she framed herself a victim, told her Black co-host Sheryl Underwood to stop crying (“If anyone should be cryin’ it should be me!”), and commanded to Underwood, “Educate me!”
Osbourne expressed regret to ET for dismissing Underwood’s emotions. “I was having a go at my friend. I got too personal with Sheryl. I should never have said about her tears. I should never have dismissed her feelings on national TV. Ever. But I said it, I have to own it,” she said.
However, she still seems oblivious to why Morgan’s dismissal of Markle’s accusations of racism from the royal family could be considered racist (and why, by extension, her support of him was viewed as condoning racism). Underwood explained it on the show, but Osbourne still doesn’t get it. She repeated her, “Educate me!” plea to ET’s Kevin Frazier, who is also Black, and he pointed out, “In many ways, that was your job to know his background, ‘cause he’s your friend.” And because she tweeted support of his bullshit! “I’ve never been a party to anything in his company that has ever been racist. Ever,” said Osbourne.
Regarding the accusations that Osbourne had called her former co-host Julie Chen “wonton” and “slanty eyes,” as well as Holly Robinson Peete “ghetto,” Osbourne told ET: “People who are let go along the way get pissed off. I’m the big girl with the big mouth so they fire it at me. But I’m not a fool. Don’t accuse me of something that’s a lie.”
By her own reckoning, Osbourne may find herself in the let-go-along-the-way camp. “I don’t know whether I want to go back. I don’t know whether I’m wanted there,” she said regarding her hosting gig. The Talk announced that it is extending its production hiatus until Tuesday.