Last week’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview continues to be a litmus test for terrible television personalities on either side of the pond. The Talk is reportedly going on a brief hiatus while CBS launches an internal review into comments Sharon Osbourne made during a recent episode in which the show’s co-hosts discussed Meghan Markle’s revelations about the royal family. The show is expected to return on Wednesday, according to Variety.
When the subject of Piers Morgan came up—apropos of him leaving Good Morning Britain following an on-air meltdown spurred by the show’s weather presenter calling him out for his relentless attacks on Markle—Osbourne defended him on the grounds of “free speech.”
“Did I like everything he said? Did I agree with what he said? No,” Osbourne said on The Talk. “Because it’s his opinion. It’s not my opinion… I support him for his freedom of speech, and he’s my friend.
“I’m not racist… I don’t care what color or what religion anyone is,” she continued. “Are you a nice person? That’s what I judge you on.”
Osbourne’s co-host Sheryl Underwood responded with what I thought was a quite generous, non-confrontational question, though unsurprisingly things got tense: “What would you say to people who may feel that while you’re standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don’t agree?” Underwood asked.
“Educate me, tell me when you have heard him say racist things,” Osbourne replied. “I very much feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend, who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist?”
Osbourne later issued an apology, posting a Notes app screenshot to Twitter expressing how sorry she is “to anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said. ... I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over.”
Nonetheless, Osbourne’s vehement Morgan defense—as well as, more so, her reaction to being asked to account for it—has led some people to recall other times Osbourne has made racially insensitive comments. On Friday, former Talk co-host Holly Robinson Peete said she was fired after Osbourne remarked that she was “too ghetto” to be on the show. The same day, a Jezebel reader sent in a clip of a 2018 episode of The Talk, which featured Osbourne insisting that Markle “ain’t Black.”
There’s no indication yet as to whether Osbourne will, like Morgan, “decide” it’s time to leave The Talk. But while it seems unlikely that Osbourne’s comments received the same volume of backlash Morgan’s did—Good Morning Britain reportedly received more than 41,015 complaints after his broadcast—a lot still hinges on her Notes app apology.