‘The Talk’ star Sharon Osbourne says firing led to death threats, blacklisting: ‘I just couldn’t stop crying’
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Sharon Osbourne faced the impact of cancel culture following her departure from “The Talk.”
In March 2021, CBS announced the outspoken TV personality “decided to leave” the long-running daytime talk show following an intense discussion about race, a subsequent internal investigation and a hiatus from the air.
Osbourne’s exit took place a few weeks after a heated exchange between the 69-year-old and co-host Sheryl Underwood. At the time, Osbourne expressed support for “her very good friend” Piers Morgan after he left “Good Morning Britain” over differing opinions about Meghan Markle following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“They said to me, ‘You are on permanent suspension. We don’t think that you’re repentant enough. And we will decide whether you ever come back,’” Osbourne recalled her dismissal to the U.K. Sunday Times.
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“And I said, ‘Well, who’s going to make that decision?’” she shared. “And they said, ‘We can’t tell you.’”
On the March 2021 episode, the co-hosts talked about Morgan’s previous statements about Markle, which many deemed racist. Osbourne clarified during the interview, however, that she did not agree with Morgan’s opinions, but pressed Underwood to “educate” her about the racist undertones of his criticism of the 40-year-old. The former reality star would later claim that executives set her up for the conversation.
Morgan left “Good Morning Britain” after saying he didn’t believe the former American actress when she told Winfrey that the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family led her to contemplate suicide. Osbourne issued a public apology following her remarks, but soon faced allegations amid reports that she herself was racist.
According to CBS, its internal inquiry said the show’s co-hosts, including Osbourne and Underwood, 58, were not properly prepared by the show’s team for a discussion on race. But it said there was no evidence found to support Osbourne’s claim CBS ordered she be confronted about her support of Morgan, 57.
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“The Talk” was on hiatus when the March 10 discussion was investigated. CBS said it had conducted workshops and training “about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew.”
Osbourne said she was blacklisted and received death threats from critics after she publicly endorsed Morgan’s right to free speech.
“They were saying they were going to come in the night, cut my throat, cut Ozzy [Osbourne’s] throat, cut my dogs’ throats,” Osbourne explained. “I said, ‘I ain’t going out, I ain’t doing anything.’ I just couldn’t stop crying because all I was thinking about was all the things that I’ve gone through in my life, and now they’re calling me a racist. This is insanity.”
“My phone as far as my TV career here was nonexistent, not one call,” she continued. “Nothing. In England and Australia, it never changed. Here it was like I was dead.”
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Osbourne said she stayed at home to avoid conflicts with the public. She later resorted to ketamine therapy to help her endure the public backlash. The controversial drug has been used to treat anxiety and depression.
“If you’re a person that stuffs things – ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’ – this drug relaxes you,” said Osbourne about her experience. “You’re not out completely. You can hear, you can talk, but you’re so relaxed, and you can’t bulls— on it. It’s a truth drug.”
Cancel culture wasn’t the only challenge the British star faced.
Last year, Osbourne underwent a facelift that left her with “horrendous” results.
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“I’m telling you, it was horrendous,” she said. “[To the surgeon] I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be f—ing joking. One eye was different from the other. I looked like a f—ing Cyclops. I’m like, ‘All I need is a hunchback.’”
“I had a full facelift done in October and I looked like one of those f—ing mummies that they wrap [with bandages],” she noted.
The procedure took nearly six hours.
“It hurt like hell,” Osbourne told the outlet. “You have no idea.”
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Her husband Ozzy even offered to pay to fix the botched results.
“He said, ‘I don’t care how much it costs, we’ll get it redone,’” she said.
However, Osbourne insisted her face is “settling now.”
Osbourne gained TV fame with the 2002-2005 reality show “The Osbournes,” which she produced and starred in alongside her heavy-metal rock star spouse and two of their three children. Osbourne, a manager for her husband and other musicians, was a judge on the British talent show “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent.”
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Today, Osbourne said isn’t afraid to speak out on current events. When asked about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars, Osbourne said it was an example of hypocrisy.
“When he wins [the Best Actor award], everybody stands up,” she said. “It’s, like, you’re such hypocrites. You’re going to go home and say how disgraceful his behavior was, but you stand up and give him a standing ovation. You know, it’s like I’ve always said, in this industry, if people could make a buck off you… If Hitler were alive today, they would give him a TV show.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.