A war of words and allegations has erupted behind the scenes of the daytime talk show The Talk, which caused waves the last two weeks over the interview between Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Sharon Osbourne, a host on the show, dipped her toe into the drama when she tried to defend her friend, conservative British talk show host Piers Morgan after he made bigoted comments about the Markle-Winfrey interview.
In the days since Osbourne’s comments, allegations of a hostile work environment have surfaced.
The New York Post reported that Elaine Welteroth, a Black co-host on the show, filed a complaint with CBS human resources about Osbourne’s comments to co-host Sheryl Underwood, kickstarting an internal investigation into her conduct.
“They said they don’t feel comfortable working in a racially insensitive and hostile environment, and this complaint launched the investigation,” a source said of Welteroth and her hairstylist.
In a widely watched segment on the show, Osbourne yells at Underwood and levels harsh criticism towards her.
The scene sparked days of backlash and apologies from Osbourne but the damage was done. In subsequent days, multiple hosts of color accused Osbourne of racism after watching how she treated Underwood.
Holly Robinson Peete, a former host on the show, took to Twitter to say Osbourne had her fired and called her “ghetto,” as Blavity previously reported.
On Tuesday, journalist Yashar Ali revealed that Osbourne often would call co-host Julie Chen “wonton” and “slanty eyes.”
Osbourne, according to The New York Post, is incensed that the show’s producers have allegedly used the controversy around her to increase interest in the show.
Showrunners Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews were allegedly confronted by Osbourne last Wednesday, where she bashed them for essentially blindsiding her with the conversation about Morgan and Markle.
“Sharon felt the producers had been ordered not to prepare her and let her be blindsided on live TV because it would be more explosive and get more publicity. She is furious. There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on behind the scenes. ‘The Talk’ is in full self-destruct mode; everyone is throwing whoever they can under the bus,” the source told The New York Post.
CBS later told the show’s crew and cast that filming would be stopped as the investigation is conducted.
“As a result of Wednesday’s taping, we want to make it clear that HR is actively involved in addressing the situation and concerns that have been brought to our attention,” the company wrote to the show’s employees.
“We are committed to a diverse, respectful and inclusive workplace and want to ensure that you are all aware of all the resources available to you should you wish to talk to someone,” the company added.