In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Shepherd — a veteran of rival talk show The View — says she thinks Sharon Osbourne "definitely was crossing a line" with co-host Sheryl Underwood during the The Talk's March 10 on-air debate about racism. The show saw "Mrs. O" lash out at Underwood for questioning her defense of Piers Morgan's controversial comments. The Talk was put on an extended hiatus amid CBS's investigation into the heated show — as well as subsequent allegations of racism against Osbourne, including by former co-host Leah Remini.
Having gone through seven seasons of "Hot Topics" on The View, Shepherd feels, "It crosses a line when you're a grownup and somebody tells you what you can and cannot do emotionally. When they tell you: You are not allowed to cry," which Osbourne told Underwood during the emotional exchange.
"Um, I'm grown," Shepherd says her reaction would be. "I'm raising children. This is a job for me, the way it is for you. So how dare you tell me how I can act? I think that was definitely crossing the line. I would expect an apology to be forthcoming because you're two grown women."
During Shepherd's time on The View, from 2007 to 2014, she says they "never had an implosion" to that degree "because we had a great deal of respect for each other," referring to then co-hosts including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar. "That's a respect thing... If we would get into spats, an apology came right away because we cared about each other."
Osbourne has been defending herself since, giving interviews in which she denied she's racist. She claims she was set up by CBS, ambushed with the segment, and blames cancel culture for the fallout with the claims by former co-hosts Remini and Holly Robinson Peete a "pile on."
However, Shepherd says, "It's a little bit hard to say, 'I'm not racist' when you get other reports from credible people," which she called "pretty damning," and "people see you defending [Morgan], who has made comments that were racial in nature... That's a little bit hypocritical."
However, "I think every situation is different. I really do. And that's why they're having an investigation," she says.
Shepherd does wish there was more concern over Underwood though.
"I think this has been hard because nobody's talking about Sheryl," she adds. "I think everybody's been talking about Sharon, Sharon, Sharon. But what did Sheryl Underwood have to go through on The Talk when she had to speak in very slow and measured terms, and to talk to Sharon while Sharon was going off. When they tried to cut to commercial and you hear curse words coming out of Sharon's mouth. They've been together  seasons. What was that for her? I think that's a hard thing to have a woman talk to you in that kind of way. As well as a trigger for a lot of women who have to be in this situation of someone treating you like you're less than."
And if it had played out in the reverse, Shepherd thinks Underwood "wouldn't have a job."
The investigation into the The Talk has been extended twice since it was first announced. It's unclear when the show will resume — with this week being all re-reruns.
Osbourne has apologized "to anyone of color that I offended" with her comments on the show. She's called the subsequent allegations "crap." She has also said she tried to reach out to Underwood, but her co-host hasn't returned her calls. Osbourne also speculated that she'll be fired by CBS after the investigation, calling herself a "sacrificial lamb," though she added that she's not even sure she wants to return after how this played out. Osbourne has also received death threats over all of this.
A CBS spokesperson has said of the situation, “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions. We’re also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on The Talk. This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary. The show will extend its production hiatus ... as we continue to review these issues.”
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