The Talk Producers Have Bad News For Sharon Osbourne

Last week, several outspoken celebrities — including Megyn Kelly, Beyoncé, and Dan Rather — shared their opinions on the ensuing controversy surrounding the explosive sit-down interview between Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry. Although many people from all sides of the political spectrum waded into the discourse, British TV host Piers Morgan was the only one who lost his job over it. After suggesting on air that Markle was lying about, among other things, feeling suicidal over her harsh treatment from the U.K. tabloid media, Morgan was asked to either apologize or step down. The controversial firebrand chose the latter. 

Although social media was filled with users celebrating Morgan's ousting, which, as reported by NBC, came about following a record 41,000 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom (including one from Markle herself), CNN host Jake Tapper argued that it signaled dark things for the future of free speech. Sharon Osbourne, co-host of The Talk, appeared to agree with him on some level, suggesting on the show that her friend should be allowed to voice his opinion without fear of reproach. As People reports, a fiery back and forth ensued between Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood. It now appears the debate in question has had major ramifications for The Talk.

CBS is conducting a full investigation of The Talk

Sharon Osbourne defended Morgan in spite of Underwood pointing out his conduct was deemed to be racist by many commentators. She tearfully demanded "Educate me!" (via Twitter) in a moment that instantly became a Twitter meme for white privilege. "To not want to address that because she is a Black woman, and to try to dismiss it or to make it seem less than what it is that's what makes it racist," Underwood argued (via People). She previously explained to Osbourne, "while you're standing by your friend, it appears that you are giving validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist." According to DeadlineThe Talk's live shows for March 15 and March 16 have been canceled as broadcaster CBS launches a full investigation into what happened between Osbourne and Underwood. They advised, "We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace," adding, the matter is "under internal review." 

Osbourne subsequently tweeted an apology to "anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused, or let down by what I said." The TV host argued, in an interview with Variety, that she was "blindsided" by the Morgan-themed segment and hadn't been involved in the planning of the episode as she usually is. Her buddy, meanwhile, took to Twitter to retweet Sharon Osbourne's apology. He called out those who supposedly "bullied" her into doing it and demanded an apology himself from The Talk/CBS. 

Piers Morgan doubled down on his comments

Morgan, who has hosted Good Morning Britain for the past six years, stormed off set after being challenged by weather reporter Alex Beresford over his controversial comments. As the BBC notes, the TV host actually doubled down on his criticism of Markle following his departure. He's been, to put it mildly, a divisive figure in the U.K. for many years, as well as during a brief attempt to make it in the U.S., with Ranvir Singh, who took over his post last week, quipping, "We don't call him Marmite for nothing."

Morgan tweeted that he still doesn't believe Markle — whom he confessed to going on a date with only for the Duchess to allegedly ghost him for Prince Harry — adding, "Freedom of speech is a hill I'm happy to die on." Speaking outside his London home, Morgan reasoned, "If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it." The TV host threatened to return to TV at some stage, too.

Sheryl Underwood weighs in on the situation

Sheryl Underwood, meanwhile, addressed the ongoing crisis during an appearance on The Steve Harvey Morning Show last week. The Talk co-host revealed, "I got calls from all over the world from people ... I was getting prayers, I was getting love," (via People). Underwood saw herself as representing Black viewers, who work normal jobs and can't fight back in similar situations. "We are the only race of people that carry the race wherever we go, and we're responsible for that," she noted. 

Speaking on her own podcast, Underwood explained she didn't lash out at Osbourne because she considers her a friend as well as a colleague. "I thought we were having a conversation like we normally do. But then I got a feeling that, wait a minute, this ain't what it usually is," she admitted. Underwood added, "I also got another feeling of, okay, Sheryl, this is time for you to step up into the leadership position ... this is time for you to show what you're made of, and in a personal way."