Sharon Osbourne talks 'America's Got Talent' experience in wake of Gabrielle Union's exit

Posted December 3, 2019 11:46 a.m. EST

— A former judge on "America's Got Talent" is sharing about her time on the show after Gabrielle Union's controversial exit.

Sharon Osbourne, who appeared on the reality competition from season 2 through season 7, talked about it Monday on the CBS talk show "The Talk," which she co-hosts.

"It's hard, because everybody's experience on a show is different, and I was at that show for six years," Osbourne said. "I didn't get let go. However, I left. And that's the truth."

It was recently announced that Union, along with fellow "AGT" judge Julianne Hough, would not be returning for the second season of "America's Got Talent: The Champions," which premieres January 6.

Variety had published a report alleging Union had been fired after urging the show's producers to report an incident involving a racist joke to human resources and after producers told her multiple times that her hairstyles on the show were "too black."

A separate report by Vulture alleged that there was workplace tension between Union and Simon Cowell, a judge and an executive producer on the series, partly over Cowell's habit of smoking on set, which is illegal in California.

CNN has not independently confirmed these allegations.

NBC said in a statement to CNN on Monday they are working with Union to "hear more about her concerns."

Osbourne, who left the show in 2012, said on "The Talk" that she "left because of NBC, not because of the show."

"However, I had my own problems with the network," Osbourne said. " I don't know about any of [Union's] concerns about the show. Obviously, there wasn't anybody of color on the panel when I was there. So, I honestly can't say."

"But when I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on," she added. "The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network."

Osbourne's co-host, Sheryl Underwood, also weighed in on the controversy.

"I'm always proud when someone in the workplace has the courage to stand up for what is right," Underwood said. "And she had a great courage."

Union has gotten a great deal of support including from the Time's Up Now organization whose president and chief executive officer, Tina Tchen, released a statement on Monday.

"Not only did Union reportedly endure and witness racist and inappropriate behavior -- including racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance -- but it also appears she was punished for speaking out: the company labeled her as 'difficult' before ousting her from the show altogether," the statement read. "Union's story is deeply troubling on its own, but her experience is particularly problematic because it follows a pattern of NBCUniversal protecting the careers of powerful men at the expense of women who speak out."

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