Leah Remini Says Sharon Osbourne Used Offensive Language on 'Talk' Set
Sharon Osbourne is being accused of using racist and homophobic language against her The Talk co-hosts in a new report.
The latest allegations came in a story published by journalist Yashar Ali on Tuesday. According to the report, multiple sources, including season one co-host Leah Remini, claim that Osbourne frequently referred to former co-host Julie Chen, who is Chinese American, “as ‘wonton’ and ‘slanty eyes,'” and called Sara Gilbert, who is a lesbian, a “‘p**sy licker’ and ‘fish eater.'”
“[I was] easily manipulated into a web of high school vitriol, hatred and bullying,” Remini claims in the article, alleging that Osbourne would refer to her “as a WOP and Guinea,” which are racial slurs used against Italians. “Not only did I do nothing about the racism and bullying I was receiving and witnessing, I was party to it. I had to own up to my own ugly.”
“Although being fired was devastating at that time, in part because someone we considered a friend turned on us for a show we helped to create, I am grateful for the time away to do the work I needed to do,” she continues. “Coming from Scientology, where racism, bullying and bigotry is taught, I had to unlearn a lot. I’m still learning and hopefully evolving. I can’t say that Sharon has focused on the work she needs to do.”
In response to the allegations made by Remini and other sources, Osbourne’s publicist, Howard Bragman, released the following statement to ET:
“The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host. For 11 years Sharon has been kind, collegial and friendly with her hosts as evidenced by throwing them parties, inviting them to her home in the U.K. and other gestures of kindness too many to name.
Sharon is disappointed, but unfazed and hardly surprised by the lies, the recasting of history and the bitterness coming out at this moment. She will survive this, as she always has and her heart will remain open and good, because she refuses to let others take her down. She thanks her family, friends and fans for standing by her and knowing her true nature.”
In a statement to ET on Tuesday, a CBS spokesperson said, “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions. We’re also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on The Talk.”
“This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the statement continues. “The show will extend its production hiatus until next Tuesday as we continue to review these issues.”
ET has also reached out to Remini, Chen and Gilbert for comment.
The news comes after ET learned that The Talk was taking a brief hiatus amid an internal CBS review regarding a heated episode that aired last Wednesday. The episode in question contained a tearful debate over Osbourne’s defense of her friend, Piers Morgan, and his decision to quit Good Morning Britain after he was called out for his controversial comments on Meghan Markle.
The conversation on The Talk received immediate backlash, with many calling out Osbourne for the way she was talking to Sheryl Underwood. Meanwhile, her fellow co-hosts attempted to explain why Morgan’s comment regarding Markle may have come across as off-putting.
Amanda Kloots later addressed the feud at the top of Thursday’s show, with Osbourne, Underwood and Elaine Welteroth sitting nearby. “Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Talk. We are a TV family here,” she said. “Sometimes we argue like we did yesterday and sometimes we laugh but we are back together again today and we are ready to start today’s show. So, let’s get into these topics.”
Amid all the backlash, Osbourne has since apologized for her behavior, in a lengthy statement shared to social media. “After some reflection, after sitting with your comments and sitting with my heart I would like to address the discussion on The Talk this past Wednesday,” she tweeted. “I have always been embraced with so much love and support from the Black community and I have deep respect and love for the Black community. To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry.”
“I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive and allowed my fear and horror of being accused of being racist take over. There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast! I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us and will continue to learn, listen and do better,” she continued. “Please hear me when I say I do not condone racism, misogyny or bullying. I should have been more specific about that in my tweet. I will always support freedom of speech, but now I see how I unintentionally didn’t make that clear distinction.”
Osbourne concluded, “I hope we can collectively continue to learn from each other and from ourselves so we can all continue to pave the way for much needed growth and change. The community on this platform means a lot to me. I hope we can all hold each other up with accountability, compassion and love during this powerful time of paving the way for so much needed change.”
Hear more in the video below.
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