Sharon Osbourne Claims CBS 'Blindsided' Her with Piers Morgan Conversation on The Talk

Sharon Osbourne is speaking out again about the controversial conversation she had with co-host Sheryl Underwood regarding the backlash surrounding Piers Morgan and his comments about Meghan Markle on Wednesday's episode of The Talk

Osbourne, 68, apologized on Friday for her comments in the episode, during which she said that she had been accused of being racist after voicing her support for Morgan, 55, in the wake of criticism about his response to Markle's recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

However, the TV personality is now claiming that CBS "blindsided" her when the topic of Morgan was brought up. 

"I blame the network for it," Osbourne told Variety on Friday night. "I was blindsided, totally blindsided by the whole situation. In my 11 years, this was the first time I was not involved with the planning the segment."

Osbourne explained that the showrunners called her about eight minutes before taping began to ask if it was okay if they asked about Morgan. 

"I said, 'Sure, they can ask me whatever.' But then I get on there, I say my piece and Sheryl [Underwood] turns around straight-faced, looks at me and is reading from a card with questions," she said. "I was just so hurt, caught off guard and stunned by what I was being asked and not prepared. 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."

Osbourne also said she "begged them to stop, to please change subjects" when they went to commercial break. 

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"I'm a big girl. I'm a professional," she told Variety. "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."

After the conversation between Osbourne and Underwood went viral, CBS announced that the network launched an internal review into the matter. "We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace," the network said in a statement provided to PEOPLE on Friday. "All matters related to the Wednesday episode of The Talk are currently under internal review."

Morgan faced widespread criticism for comments he made about Markle, including questioning her authenticity in discussing her mental health struggles, on Good Morning Britain earlier this week. After his co-host Alex Beresford called him out on-air, Morgan stormed off set. Following the incident, it was announced that Morgan would be leaving his post at the ITV morning news show.

During Wednesday's episode of The Talk, Osbourne said she didn't agree with Morgan's comments about the Duchess of Sussex, but still supports him. "Did I like everything he said? Did I agree with what he said? No," she said. "It's not my opinion … I support him for his freedom of speech, and he's my friend."

Underwood, 57, then pushed back and questioned Osbourne: "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?"

Their conversation quickly turned emotional, with Osbourne telling Underwood to explain when Morgan had said something racist. "I will ask you again Sheryl, I've been asking you during the break and I'm asking you again, and don't try and cry 'cause if anyone should be crying it should be me," Osbourne said with tears in her eyes. "Educate me! Tell me when you have heard him say racist things."

Underwood then responded that "it is 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 explained. "But right now, I'm talking to a woman I believe is my friend and I don't want anybody here to watch this and think we are attacking you for being racist."

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