Sharon Osbourne Opens Up About Her Experience On ‘America’s Got Talent’ Amid Gabrielle Union’s Exit

Sharon Osbourne opened up about her own experience as a judge on America’s Got Talent after news of Gabrielle Union’s exit from the show, which has sparked conversation about the “toxic culture” on the show’s set.

On Monday’s episode of The Talk, the group of hosts talked about Union’s departure with Osbourne, who shared, “It’s hard.”

“Everybody’s experience on a show is different, and I was at that show for six years. I didn’t get let go,” Osbourne added.

She went on to clarify that it wasn’t the show that pushed her to leave, but it was the network NBC.

“I left. And that’s the truth. I left because NBC, not because of the show. I had my own problems with the network. I don’t know about any of her concerns about the show,” Osbourne said of Union’s complaints.

“Obviously, there wasn’t anybody of color on the panel when I was there. So, I honestly can’t say. But when I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on.”

“The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network,” Osbourne added.

The Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood later added, defending Union’s actions, saying: “I am always proud when someone in the workplace has the courage to stand up for what is right.”

“It’s something that we need to talk about… things that are appropriate and things that are inappropriate,” Underwood expressed.

Osbourne acted as judge from season 2 through 7 of America’s Got Talent. She announced her exit from the competition series in July 2012 and later revealed in the year that the reason for her quitting the show was related to her son Jack Osbourne.

The America’s Got Talent controversy started last month after the news was revealed that Union and Julianne Hough would not be returning to the show as judges in the upcoming 15th season.

On November 26, Variety published a report which claimed that Union had express concerns over racially insensitive incidents on the show during her time as a judge, one incident included a joke made by guest judge Jay Leno and was allegedly removed from the episode.

The outlet’s sources also alleged that Union and Hough both received “excessive notes” on their physical appearance.

A representative for NBC and production company Fremantle issued a statement about the claims on November 26: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

Last Wednesday, Union broke her silence about her departure, and thank her fans for their support during this hard time via Twitter. “So many tears, so much gratitude,” she wrote. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”

Even other celebrities such as Ellen Pompeo and Ariana Grande expressed their support for Union via Twitter.

On Sunday, Syco Entertainment, which produces the competition series, released a joint statement with NBC and Fremantle: “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

After the statement was issued, Union retweeted a tweet from a freelance writer and host Joelle Monique and commented on the appropriate way to apologize.

Monique’s tweet outlined what makes for a “solid apology”: “1. Sincerely admit wrong doing directly to the offended party. 2. Be twice as loud correcting your mistake as you were making the mistake. 3. Lay out steps to correct your behavior in the future. Anything less is covering your own a–.”

Union shared Monique’s post, and added, “This! This! AND THIIISSSSSSS!!!!!!”

On Monday, Leno broke his silence for the first time since the allegations were made.

“I love Gabrielle Union. She’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her,” Leno told TMZ. “She’s really good.”

When asked about his thoughts about Union being treated fairly on America’s Got Talent, Leno said, “I don’t know … but I think she’s a great girl.”

Hough made a statement to Variety last week, which denied that she had a negative experience working on the show. “I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” said Hough, who will star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

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