Sharon Osbourne was 'blindsided' by talk show questions about Piers Morgan defence

·3-min read

Sharon Osbourne has compared herself to "a lamb held out for slaughter" after she was "totally blindsided" on her U.S. show The Talk by questions about her Twitter defence of controversial U.K. newsman Piers Morgan. Sharon voiced her support for her old friend in a statement on Twitter, after Morgan quit his TV gig as co-host of Good Morning Britain on Tuesday following public uproar over his incredulity at Meghan, Duchess of Sussex's claims of suicidal thoughts in her revealing tell-all with Oprah Winfrey. "I am with you. I stand by you," she wrote, adding: "People forget that you're paid for your opinion and that you're just speaking your truth." Sharon was quizzed about her comments on daytime show The Talk the following day and insisted that while she didn't "agree with what he said," she wanted to stand up for Morgan's "freedom of speech". However, co-host Sheryl Underwood took Sharon to task for supporting Morgan, asking: "What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don't agree?" Sharon subsequently apologised to anyone who felt offended by her remarks, making it clear she doesn't "condone racism, misogyny or bullying", and proclaiming on Twitter: "I will always support freedom of speech, but now I see how I unintentionally didn't make that clear distinction." Now Sharon is holding CBS network execs responsible for putting her The Talk co-hosts up to the task of grilling her on air over the Morgan controversy. "I blame the network for it," she told Variety. "I was blindsided, totally blindsided by the whole situation. In my 11 years (on The Talk), this was the first time I was not involved with the planning of the segment," she went on. Admitting that a producer had asked her shortly before Wednesday's showtime if she could be questioned about Morgan during the taping, Sharon claimed she had no idea they had prepared a full script for Underwood. "I get on there, I say my piece and Sheryl turns around straight-faced, looks at me and is reading from a card with questions," she recalled. Fuming: "I was just so hurt, caught off guard and stunned by what I was being asked and not prepared," Sharon shared: "I was honestly in shock. I felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter... They had me there for 20 minutes." Sharon ended up begging producers to "please change subjects" during a commercial break, and she is convinced the TV clash was all concocted by CBS producers. "I'm a big girl. I'm a professional," she said, before noting: "However CBS blindsided me. I don't know why they did it to me. The showrunners told me it came from executives to do this to me." A representative for CBS has declined to respond to Sharon's Variety comments, but on Friday, officials announced plans to conduct an "internal review" of the incident.