January 19, 2022

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Sharon Osbourne feels the heat after defending Piers Morgan

Sharon Osbourne, who judged “America’s Got Talent” alongside Piers Morgan for five seasons, is getting some blowback for her explanation of why the former “Good Morning Britain” host is the way he is when it comes to the former Meghan Markle.

On Tuesday, she supported her friend on “The Talk” and on social media. But by Wednesday, Osbourne was near tears as she proclaimed on the show that neither she nor Morgan is racist.

“They pay him for his opinion. … He’s a royalist, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” she said on Tuesday’s show, which she cohosts. “The generation he was born into, we were all taught to be royalists.”

Morgan’s family has a strong military background, she said, implying that amplified his royalist leanings.

“You fight for your queen and your country, and he’s a royalist. I think he is hurt by Meghan, terribly. That’s why he won’t drop it. It’s a personal thing for him. I know nothing about what went on, but the thing is with Piers, he has so many other things to do, and he quit,” she added.

Morgan departed “Good Morning Britain” in a huff Tuesday after heated clashes with his cohosts over the former “Suits” actress and the highly watched interview she and Prince Harry did with Oprah Winfrey.

The chat aired Sunday in the U.S. and on Monday night in the U.K. According to CBS, which is airing the special again Friday night, it had been seen by almost 50 million people as of Tuesday.

“Piers is what he is,” Osbourne said. “We’re paid for our opinion too.” She later tweeted her support of Morgan, which he appreciated.

“When stuff like this happens, true friends run towards you, fake friends run away,” Morgan tweeted Wednesday. “I love Sharon Osbourne because she always stays true to herself.”

Osbourne also noted that she thought Morgan, rather than walking off the set, should have stayed and listened to the “very good case” weather presenter Alex Beresford was making. Beresford himself said he didn’t want Morgan to quit their morning show on ITV “but I did want him to listen.”

But “The Talk” cohost Elaine Welteroth saw it differently. She quoted her mother: “‘If you can’t stand the heat, you better get out the kitchen.’”

“This is somebody,” the former Teen Vogue editor said, “who somehow can’t stand the heat even though he dishes it every single day. And he’s been roasting Meghan Markle and Harry for years. So if he can’t handle someone criticizing him, I don’t know why he gets paid for his opinions, if he can’t handle someone else’s opinion of him.”

By Wednesday, however, the mood on “The Talk” was tense as the discussion continued.

Osbourne first stated that while she supported her friend, that didn’t mean she agreed with everything he said; rather, she supported Morgan’s freedom of speech.

“Why is it that because I supported a longtime friend and work colleague of mine, for years, that everybody goes, ‘If you support him, then you must be racist, because he’s racist,’” she said, getting emotional.

“I’m not racist. Neither is Piers racist,” Osbourne continued, “and I hate the fact of even saying, ‘I’m not racist.’ It’s a terrible, evil word to call anybody without knowledge of that. What have I ever said about anybody that is racist? It is not within me. It’s not within me, who I am, it’s not in my soul. I don’t care what color or what religion anyone is.

“Are you a nice person? That’s what I judge you on. Are you respectful and nice to me? Then I return it. I don’t care anybody’s religion or race. It has nothing to do with being a good person. … I’m the last person at all who’s racist,” she said.

Cohost Amanda Kloots said she understood how difficult it must be to see a friend in a difficult situation when you know that person on a deeper level than others do. Fellow panelist Sheryl Underwood mentioned that when Morgan appeared on “The Talk” recently, she explained to him that what he was saying about Meghan was racist — something he disagreed with.

Welteroth, however, brought up antiracism, saying that was what was called for at this moment, and mentioned unconscious bias.

“So if I like Piers, and he’s seen as racist, then I’m racist? Is that what you’re saying?,” Osbourne asked.

“It’s not the case,” Welteroth replied, “but — this is uncomfortable — ’cause no one wants to challenge a friend, especially on national television.” But sometimes, she added, it’s a friend’s job to hold a friend accountable.

Osbourne sounded like she’d had enough.

“He’s not my husband, he’s not my lover, he was never a boyfriend. I have friends in my life. I stick up for my friends. If I ever needed him, he would be there for me. And that’s it,” she said firmly. “I feel even like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist. And for me, at 68 years of age, to have to turn around and say, ‘I ain’t racist.’ … How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”

As Underwood tossed to a commercial, Osbourne kept talking, and the show had to bleep whatever word came out of her mouth. When they came back. Mrs. O had a tissue in her hand and a chip on her shoulder, and was begging Underwood to “educate” her on when Morgan had said racist things.

“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,” Underwood said, adding that she didn’t want anyone to think the panel was attacking Osbourne for being racist.

Osbourne quipped, with some bitterness, “I think it’s too late. I think that seed’s already sown.” Then she wondered why Morgan couldn’t dislike a person of color without it being seen as racist.

“There’s a difference between bigotry, prejudice and racism,” Underwood replied. “To speak upon something and not accept what she is saying, what Meghan has been saying, it could be true, and the responses to that could be true, and the fact that you don’t even want to take into consideration that her desire to want to end her own life is connected to her race.

“That dismissal,” she said, “makes it a racist situation.”