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Sharon Obourne says she's been called names, but 'racist' she won't accept

Former "The Talk" co-host Sharon Osbourne told Bill

Former "The Talk" co-host Sharon Osbourne told Bill Maher Friday that defending her friend Piers Morgan's right to his opinion does not make her a racist. Credit: Invision / AP / Jordan Strauss

Sharon Osbourne, speaking out for the first time since leaving "The Talk," says she disagrees with the premise that branded her disrespectful of racial issues and led to her departure from the show.

"I've been called so many things in my life. I am so used to being called names," Osbourne, 68, said on Friday's edition of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," "but 'a racist' is one I will not take."

Osbourne had exited the CBS daytime panel-discussion show following an internal investigation into the March 10 episode, in which she defended the right of U.K. TV personality Piers Morgan to make what many considered racist statements about the biracial Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. While Osbourne noted on air that she disagreed with Morgan, a heated discussion ensued, primarily between herself and fellow co-host Sheryl Underwood. Osbourne subsequently apologized to "anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said."

Agreeing with host Maher, 65, who had marveled at "all this drama over somebody saying, 'I don't agree with my friend, but he's entitled to his opinion,’ " Osbourne assured: "I'm a fighter … I'm doing just fine. What about the people that are cut from the knees down and they can't afford to go and get lessons on what's politically correct and how to talk to people? What happens to them? … It's not fair, because it isn't about being a racist, it's about maybe not knowing what is correct and woke for your language that day. Because it changes from day to day, what is correct and what isn't."

Osbourne additionally denied having used slurs in reference to past co-host Leah Remini's Italian heritage.

On the April 12 edition of "The Talk," the first new episode since the controversy last month, co-host Elaine Welteroth recalled that she and Underwood on the March 10 show had "had to stay composed … even in the face of someone who was A) not listening and B) who went off the rails into disrespect … ."

Following its investigation, CBS announced in a March 26 statement that, "Sharon's behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace."

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