Sharon Osbourne Called Julie Chen Racial Slurs, Says Leah Remini

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

Sounds like CBS won’t have to probe too deep in its internal investigation to find inappropriate conduct by Sharon Osbourne at The Talk. After vehemently defending Piers Morgan’s treatment of Meghan Markle and later apologizing for her reaction to co-host Sheryl Underwood, sources came forward to journalist Yashar Ali with stories of Osbourne’s past racist and homophobic behavior behind the scenes at The Talk. Multiple sources, including Osbourne’s former co-host Leah Remini, told Ali that Osbourne “would frequently refer to then-co-host Julie Chen, who is Chinese American, as ‘wonton’ and ‘slanty eyes.’” According to these same sources, Osbourne referred to her out lesbian co-host Sara Gilbert as “‘pussy licker’ and ‘fish eater.’” Remini told Ali, “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.” Ali’s story goes on to outline Osbourne’s past racist comments about Markle, including saying “She ain’t Black!” and “She doesn’t look Black” on a 2018 episode of The Talk.

On March 12, Osbourne’s former co-host Holly Robinson Peete tweeted about her own experience of Osbourne’s racist treatment: “I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #theTalk…then I was gone,” implying that Osbourne’s racism was in part responsible for her leaving the show. According to Ali, “Osbourne had her attorneys send a cease and desist letter saying if she didn’t delete the tweet below, she would be sued.”

Osbourne’s publicist sent Ali a statement in which Osbourne denies her co-workers’ allegations and calls them “lies.”

Updated March 17 at 3:25 p.m.: In the process of denying that she had ever called Julie Chen “wonton,” Sharon Osbourne kept repeating the racist insult. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Osbourne said, “Everyone’s got an opinion or a story like the wonton story. It’s like f**k off with your f**king wonton story. F**k off!” When asked specifically if she had ever levied that insult at Chen, Osbourne answered, “It’s all crap. It’s all crap. I don’t want to go there with her. She makes her living out of outing people. So, it’s like come on. It’s got no real foundation. Allegations of calling a Chinese lady a wonton, it’s like — is that all you’ve got? It’s like really?” Which is not, we’ll point out, a “no.” Osbourne also defended her friendship with Piers Morgan, saying, “Piers and I have got a great friendship. But we fight — we have huge fights. I’ve slapped Piers. Piers has seen my breasts! We get drunk together, we argue a lot over things we don’t agree on but at the end of the day, that’s it.” Lots of unpleasant imagery there.

Sharon Osbourne Called Julie Chen Slurs, Says Leah Remini