Sharon Osbourne is accusing Simon Cowell of ageism.
The Talk co-host, 66, said on Thursday’s show that she turned down an opportunity to be a judge on the buzzy reality series The Masked Singer because she was under contract for X Factor UK. She was then canned by Cowell, who helms X Factor, in September because he said she was “too old.”
“I turned down a judge [gig] on The Masked Singer," Osbourne revealed. “I was signed on to do [X Factor]. I was signed to go to England, and then Simon Cowell changed his mind and thought I was too old.”
Recalling the conversation, she said, “Simon Cowell goes, ‘She’s old. We need somebody young.’ So if you want young, fire yourself,” she said to cheers from her co-hosts.
Not one to miss a chance to take an extra swipe, she then added, “And get rid of those man [bleep] and you’ll be fine.” Knowing her admission would ruffle feathers, she ended with a message to Cowell, 59, saying, “Call me tomorrow, we’ll discuss it.”
Cowell’s camp had no comment on any of it when Yahoo Entertainment reached out on Thursday. However, a source close to Cowell tells us Osbourne’s claims are “completely untrue.”
Osbourne, who has managed her husband Ozzy’s career for decades, was a fixture on X Factor off and on since 2004. In September, it was announced she was leaving after she declined a reduced role on the show. While there were rumblings about her departure, her statement — saying she was sitting this year out — didn’t indicate that there was anything hugely amiss. She even called Cowell “gracious.”
Though her exit announcement came shortly after she appeared on Howard Stern’s show and badmouthed X Factor. She called it “f**king karaoke,” and said the contestants were “little sh**ts” and called Cowell a “fat-faced motherf***er.”
In an October interview with the U.K.’s The Sun, Osbourne said that two weeks after the Stern interview, she got a call from a senior member of the show and they said they were “upset” about it. Eight days later, they called again to say they no longer needed her.
Osbourne said she spoke to Cowell after that — and he begged her to stay on the show. “We spoke, and he said, ‘Darling I really don’t want you to go, I want you to stay. It’s going to be so much fun,’” she recalled him saying. She added he wasn’t mad about the Stern comments. “He’s done Howard’s show himself. He knows what it’s like.”
But she said her ultimate decision came down to the minimized role on the show — which would be just six live shows. “It was getting ridiculous,” she said, before adding, “I’m not angry with anyone and I don’t regret anything. My life will go on and so will The X Factor. It’s doing great. It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s Simon’s show and he can do whatever he wants with it.”
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