Sharon Osbourne was accused of gaslighting and “weaponising” her tears during a row over her support for Piers Morgan.
Osbourne was among several celebrities to defend the former Good Morning Britain host, who left the show on Tuesday (9 March) after a much-criticised outburst against Meghan Markle.
“Piers Morgan I am with you. I stand by you,” Osbourne tweeted shortly after. “People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth.”
Appearing on her show The Talk on Wednesday (10 March), the presenter quickly became emotional after she was asked to explain her support.
“Why is it that because I supported a longtime friend and work colleague for years, people go, ‘Well you must be racist because he’s racist,'” she said.
“I support his freedom of speech. I’m not racist and neither is Piers racist. It’s a terrible, evil word to call anyone that’s not knowledge of that.”
Her comments didn’t go down well with her co-host Sheryl Underwood, who reminded her that Morgan’s remarks about the Duchess had “racial implications”.
“I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist,” Sharon Osbourne replied.
“For me at 68 years of age to have to turn around and say, ‘I ain’t racist,’ what’s it got to do with me? How can I be racist about anybody? How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”
When Underwood attempted to diffuse the tension by taking the show to an ad break, Osbourne angrily interrupted her.
“Well what? Well what?” she fired back. “I think we should stop this.”
The presenter appeared visibly more emotional when the show returned. She immediately confronted her co-host, demanding she provide evidence of Piers Morgan’s racism.
“I will ask you again Sheryl, I’ve been asking during the break. I’m asking you again. And don’t try and cry, because if anyone should be crying it should be me.
“This is the situation. You tell me where you have heard him say [racist things]. Educate me! Tell me when you have heard him say racist things. Educate me, tell me!”
Rather than matching Osbourne’s tone, Underwood calmly explained that racism doesn’t always take the form of overt language and actions – it can be passive too.
“It’s not the exact words of racism, it’s the implication and the reaction to it. To not want to address that because she is a Black woman and to try to dismiss it, or to make it seem less than what it is, that’s what makes it racist,” she replied.
“But right now I’m talking to a woman that is my friend, and I don’t want anybody here to watch this and say we’re attacking you for being racist,” she added.
“I think it’s too late, that seed is already sown,” Osbourne scoffed.
The clip was widely shared on social media, with Twitter users accusing the former X Factor judge of “gaslighting” her co-star.
“This is Sharon Osbourne, telling a Black woman not to cry and demanding a definition of racism, as she sobs over Piers Morgan who walked off his job because a mixed Black co-worker calmly challenged his fixation on Meghan Markle,” comedian Rae Sanni wrote.