On Friday, CBS released a statement following an investigation into the on-air exchange between The Talk host Sharon Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood over the Piers Morgan/ Meghan Markle controversy, as well as accusations of inappropriate language towards previous co-hosts Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert. The daytime talk show will stay off the air until April 12- but without Osbourne, who the network says made the decision to depart the series. What follows is the official statement from CBS:
The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. 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. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.
At the same time, we acknowledge the Network and Studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race.
During this week's hiatus, we are coordinating workshops, listening sessions and training about equity, inclusion and cultural awareness for the hosts, producers and crew. Going forward, we are identifying plans to enhance the producing staff and producing procedures to better serve the hosts, the production and, ultimately, our viewers.
During the Wednesday, March 10, episode of the daytime talk show, Osbourne became defensive and pushed back on how her defense of Morgan following his comments about Markle was being portrayed. Co-host Underwood responded by saying that "while you are standing by your friend, it appears that you are giving validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist." Osbourne challenged Underwood's claim, asking for specifics. "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 argued.
On the following Tuesday, writer Yashar Ali reported that new allegations had come to light from various sources, including that Osbourn "would frequently refer to then-co-host Chen, who is Chinese American, as 'wonton' and 'slanty eyes,' according to multiple sources, including former co-host Remini" and that she "referred to former co-host and executive producer Gilbert, who is a lesbian, as 'pu**y licker' and 'fish eater,' according to multiple sources including Remini."
The network would issue the following statement later that day: "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 show will extend its production hiatus until next Tuesday as we continue to review these issues." On the Wednesday following, Osbourne sat for an interview with ET to offer her side of the controversy- a move made by the ex-talk show that many feel did more harm than help her cause.