US daytime TV show The Talk will remain on hiatus for another week after a discussion about racism involving co-host Sharon Osbourne went off the rails, CBS says.
The network said it was committed to “a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary”.
Osbourne reacted angrily last week during a discussion about British television personality Piers Morgan, who she describes as a friend.
Morgan left the Good Morning Britain show after he said he didn’t believe Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, when she said in an interview that she had considered suicide when unhappy with her life in Britain’s royal family.
A fellow host, Sheryl Underwood, asked Osbourne: “What would you say to people who may feel that, while you’re standing by your friend, it appears that you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don’t agree?”
Osbourne replied angrily, using words that were bleeped out, and said she felt like she was being placed on “the electric chair” for having a friend who some people thought was racist.
The emotional discussion continued after a commercial break. At one point Osbourne said to Underwood: “Don’t try to cry. If anyone should be crying, it should be me.”
Osbourne claimed later that the show’s producers told her off-screen that CBS had ordered she be confronted about her support for Morgan.
‘I am still learning’
CBS has not addressed that accusation, and would not say precisely what claims it was investigating.
In a statement, the network said it was “committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions”.
Addressing the controversy earlier this week, Osbourne — the wife of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, who came to fame during MTV’s series about the family — apologised for her comments, adding she “panicked, felt blindsided” and “got defensive” when “accused of being racist”.
“There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism, so to feel associated with that spun me fast,” she wrote on Twitter after the show aired.
“I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us [and] will continue to learn, listen and do better.”
She also rejected claims made by Holly Robinson Peete, one of the program’s original hosts who exited the program in 2011, that she had called her “too ghetto”.
Peete suggested the comments played a role in her departure, tweeting that she was “mortified watching the disrespectful condescending tone [Osbourne] took” with Underwood last week.
“Never in my life did I utter the words that Holly was ‘too ghetto’ to be on the Talk, as well as not having her fired,” Osbourne wrote in response.
CBS said the show was expected back on the air next Tuesday.