Sharon Osbourne and Bill Maher Whine About Cancel Culture
The entertainment personality joined the comic to discuss her recent firing from “The Talk” after a number of racism allegations against her emerged. It wasn’t pretty.
If you happen to be a white celebrity who’s been “cancelled”—or held accountable for doing something racist on the job—Real Time with Bill Maher is the perfect place to kick off your “White Victimhood” tour. And, following in the venerable footsteps of alt-right bigot Milo Yiannopoulos and blackface apologist Megyn Kelly, Maher has chosen to use his influential platform to cry “cancel culture!” in defense of another wealthy racist: Sharon Osbourne.
In case you missed it, after Osbourne issued a full-throated on-air defense of Piers Morgan’s insensitive comments toward Meghan Markle on her daytime talk show The Talk, she was confronted by two of her Black co-hosts—Sheryl Underwood and Elaine Welteroth. When Underwood became emotional while discussing the racist treatment that Markle had faced, Osbourne scolded her, saying, “And don’t try and cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me.”
Reports subsequently emerged of Osbourne’s “long history of racist language and bullying,” with journalist Yashar Ali revealing that Osbourne had called former co-host Julie Chen “wonton” and “slanty eyes”; referred to co-host and executive producer Sara Gilbert, who is a lesbian, as “pussy licker” and “fish eater”; and described Iranian American agent Renee Tab as a “Persian carpet cunt,” as well as falsely accusing her of stealing jewelry. Holly Robinson Peete, a Black woman, also shared a damning story about Osbourne, tweeting, “I’m old enough to remember when Sharon complained that I was too ‘ghetto’ for #theTalk … then I was gone. I bring this up now bc I was mortified watching the disrespectful condescending tone she took w/her co host who remained calm & respectful because … she HAD to.”
Osbourne was fired from The Talk and, in lieu of accountability, claimed she was being “set up” and the victim of some unnamed conspiracy against her.
Which brings us to Friday’s Real Time. Maher first attempted to recap why, in his mind, Osbourne was fired, and distorted the situation by insinuating that she was solely fired for her remarks defending Morgan on the program, with the comic asking, “Who’s the racist? And why? This is what I’m trying to figure out.” “Me too,” replied Osbourne. “I’ve been called so many things in my life, and I am so used to being called names, but ‘a racist’ is one I will not take.”
“Do you have to agree with everything Meghan Markle says, or you’re a racist?” asked Maher. “Is this the standard now? Is this what you think they’re trying to say? Unless you agree with every person of color, you’re a racist? That seems insane.”
It’s worth pausing here to mention that Osbourne was likely not fired from The Talk over her Markle remarks, as Maher is disingenuously re-framing it, but over the numerous reports delivered by credible sources in their wake—including guest host Robinson Peete and former co-host Leah Remini—detailing her history of indisputably racist and discriminatory comments.
Maher then proceeded to downplay the British royal family’s alleged treatment of Markle, calling Queen Elizabeth II “an old bag” and saying to Markle, “They’re cold to everybody, girl!” (Yes, he really said that—affecting a slight accent, no less.)
“All this drama over somebody saying, ‘I don’t agree with my friend, but he’s entitled to his opinion,’” stated Maher, again being misleading.
“Disagreeing with somebody does not make you a racist,” replied Osbourne.
Later on in the chat, Maher—without naming them—brought up the allegations in the Ali report that Osbourne had said anti-Asian slurs, branding Remini and the other women who came out with stories about Osbourne “snitches.”
“I don’t even use those words. They’re not in my… vocabulary,” offered Osbourne, adding, “It’s disgruntled ladies.”
Then, Maher argued that people as old as Osbourne or himself shouldn’t have to apologize for their behavior.
“I’m 65. I know who I am. I don’t need re-education,” said Maher.
I think a great number of people would disagree.