The accusations were leveled on Tuesday in an article written by journalist Yaşar Ali, citing former “Talk” presenter Lea Rimini, who spoke officially in the article, and a number of unnamed sources.
CNN has not independently verified the allegations. A Rimini spokesperson confirmed the accuracy of her statements as reported by Ali and declined any further comment when contacted by CNN.
“The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host,” Osborne spokesman Howard Bragman said in a statement to CNN in response to the allegations raised in Ali’s report. “For 11 years, Sharon has been gentle, collegial and friendly with her hosts as evidenced by partying, inviting them to her UK home, and so many other kind gestures. Lies, rewriting history and bitterness stand out at this moment.”
The allegations went public as the CBS daytime talk show was paused for a short time after a heated debate last week between co-hosts Osborne and Sherrill Underwood about Osborne’s support for her old friend, Pierce Morgan.
The “Entertainment Tonight” interview appears to have taken place before Ali’s story was published and Osborne – who apologized on Twitter after being out with Underwood – spoke of how shocked she was during the now famous race.
“Sherrill turns around and asks me this question and … she was reading it off a card. It wasn’t on my cards,” Osborne said. And then [another co-host] Eileen [Welteroth]I read her questions and say, “I was prepared.” They are preparing me. My anger was like, I can’t believe it, I’m your sacrificial lamb.
Moments before the show kicked off, Osborne said, one of the contestants of the show asked if she would mind answering questions about Morgan and how she would feel if “she might be” [the women] Not agree with you. Osborne said she replied, ‘I’ll answer whatever they want me to answer. “
Underwood and Wiltrouth are both black. Osborne said she tried to apologize to Underwood, who Osborne said she “has nothing but respect and a lot of affection,” but got no response.
“I am not a racist and if you can’t go to your friend who happens to be black, does that make me racist because I said certain things to my boyfriend, but I said it in front of the camera?” Osborne said. “I will continue to apologize to Sherrill, even if I decide not to come back, I will continue to apologize to Cheryl.”
CNN reached out to Underwood and Welltroth for comment. CNN also reached out to CBS to comment on Osborne’s claims that she was feeling prepared.
CBS said “The Talk,” which also includes co-host Carrie Ann Inaba and Amanda Kluts, is currently discontinuing production “as we continue to review these issues.” Osborne told “Entertainment Tonight” that she was not sure if she would return to the show.