The Talk has some explaining to do. The daytime ensemble talk show announced on Monday that it would be on hiatus until Wednesday while it conducted an “internal review” into the heated exchange that took place last Wednesday between Sharon Osbourne and, well, herself (since co-host Sheryl Underwood demonstrated admirable calm in the face of a full-on meltdown—over Piers Morgan, of all people). But if recently resurfaced receipts are any indication, the show’s producers likely need to do some soul searching to reckon with the culture they created that allowed Osbourne’s entitlement and problematic rhetoric to thrive unchecked for nearly a decade.
In the wake of the explosive exchange Osbourne has since apologized for came a claim from former co-host Holly Robinson Peete that Osbourne once called her and Leah Remini “ghetto” and was responsible for both women’s firings from The Talk. Though Osbourne swiftly issued an online denial refuting Peete’s claims, several followers of the drama have come forward to remind us that Osbourne’s insensitivity is nothing new. In fact, it was revealed that Remini called it out as early as 2012.
Unsurprisingly, Osbourne doubled down, providing some receipts of her own last Saturday, which seemed to indicate there was no bad blood between her and Peete following the firing, essentially inferring that Peete is now lying. “I have never had the ability/authority to get anyone fired from The Talk,” Osbourne claimed.
That’s only half the story, countered journalist Yashar Ali. Ali claims his own reporting at the time revealed that while Peete and Osbourne may have been on good terms immediately after the firing, upon learning about Osbourne’s involvement several months after the fact, Peete sent a follow-up “holding her accountable.” (And whew, do we wish we could see that read.)
But wait—there’s more! Osbourne’s questionable views on race were also evident in purported past comments she made about Justin Bieber, whom she felt wanted to be “a mean boy,” yet didn’t realize “he’s white and not Black,” stating “that’s a huge problem.” The comments were reportedly made in response to an incident in which—wait for it—Bieber was sighted “pissing in a bucket.”
You know, because that’s a thing we Black people are known to do.
Apparently, Osbourne is something of an expert on Blackness—at least, according to another clip now making the rounds following her defense of friend Piers Morgan after his prolonged media assault on Meghan Markle. In what can only be described as a full-circle moment, Twitter sleuths uncovered a 2018 clip in which Osbourne offered her own unsolicited opinion on Meghan’s Blackness, ironically another instance of contradicting an assertion made by Underwood.
“...because she brought Blackness to the royal family—which is not the first time... ” began Underwood in the out-of-context clip.
“She ain’t Black!” Osbourne interjects, continuing to protest as her co-hosts say otherwise. “No, I know. But she doesn’t look Black!”
“To who???” her co-hosts respond. “To anybody!” replies Osbourne.
We’re not sure how Osbourne feels the issues in question might’ve played out differently if Markle did, in fact, “look Black,” by her estimation, but if your skin is crawling after that clip, imagine how Eve—herself married to a white Englishman—must’ve felt as she had to firmly gather Osbourne while gracefully explaining that Black folks come in “all different colors.” Eve effectively shut down the ridiculousness by saying “that’s a whole discussion we don’t need to have,” but we couldn’t help but wonder if dynamics like these at all contributed to her own departure from the show.
To Eve’s point, we shouldn’t need to have that discussion—but clearly, we do, since we’ve heard enough actual Black folks say the same thing, to which we’ll just leave a screenshot of Meghan’s own 2014 response right here.
Anyhoo, in regard to that soul-searching we’re suggesting on the part of CBS, it’s also worth noting that the aforementioned investigation was reportedly not prompted by the network or The Talk show producers, but by co-host and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth. On Monday, Page Six reported it was Welteroth and her hairstylist who approached Human Resources at CBS after Osbourne’s on-air exchange with Underwood to file a formal complaint about a “racially insensitive and hostile environment” on the show.
“They said they don’t feel comfortable working in a racially insensitive and hostile environment, and this complaint launched the investigation,” a source told Page Six.
Interestingly enough, Osbourne has some complaints of her own, as she allegedly felt “set up” by the show’s producers of the TV show, who apparently didn’t brief her about Underwood’s questions in hopes of making the response “more explosive.”
They got their wish—and reportedly then some. “Showrunners Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews were confronted by Sharon after Wednesday’s show, and she grilled them about why they didn’t prepare her for what was coming from Sheryl,” the source added.
But here’s the thing: Underwood didn’t confront Osbourne; nor was she in any way aggressive in her approach, unlike Osbourne herself. Underwood simply addressed Morgan’s continued harassment of Meghan—a complaint filed by the duchess herself. It was Osbourne’s choice to offer herself as a human shield for a man bent on making misogynoir his brand—so, to paraphrase the woman herself, “don’t try and cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me.”
Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 5:10 p.m., ET: Remember that pesky little internal investigation that suspended live production on The Talk from Monday through Tuesday of this week? Deadline reports it’s gonna take a little longer than that, reporting on Tuesday afternoon that “The Talk will remain dark this week and will return to originals next Tuesday.”
And after all of the receipts we unearthed, it’s apparently worse than we thought—though on the bright side, Osbourne’s bigotry apparently extends beyond anti-Blackness, so there’s that. Per Deadline and CBS:
The news comes amid new revelations about alleged use by Osbourne of offensive language, including racial epithets towards former co-hosts Julie Chen as well as derogatory references of former co-host Sara Gilbert’s sexual orientation. The network just released the following statement:
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.