NBC denies discrimination against Jack Osbourne as Sharon quits America’s Got Talent in protest

By | Published on Wednesday 8 August 2012

Sharon Osbourne

NBC has denied an accusation of discrimination by Sharon Osbourne. She claims that the network decided not to allow her son Jack to appear on ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ – a show in which celebrities perform military training exercises to win prizes for charity – as a result of him announcing that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Announcing that she was resigning her position as a judge on ‘America’s Got Talent’, Sharon told the New York Post earlier this week: “I just can’t be fake. It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled. It’s time to move on. They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do. All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years”.

Although at a press conference ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ producer David Hurwitz said that Jack had never been contracted to appear on the show, Sharon said that while Jack’s contract had not been formally signed, discussions were ongoing with the view that he would take part right up until he went public with his diagnosis.

Yesterday, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt issued a statement, published by The Hollywood Reporter, rejecting the Osbourne’s allegations of discrimination, saying: “First, we have the deepest affection for Sharon Osbourne and consider her to be part of the NBC family. And our hearts go out to her, Ozzy, Jack and his family at this time. We hold medical information in strict confidence and therefore cannot comment specifically about Jack, but as a company that cares deeply about the health and safety of everyone on our shows – especially one like ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ that requires dangerous water stunts, strenuous physical activity, and uses live ammunition – we required all potential participants to undergo medical vetting to ensure that they could safely participate”.

He continued: “Although we did not ask Jack to participate in the competition, we were able to offer him two substantial alternative roles on the show, both of which he declined. This network does not discriminate on any basis”.

Following her initial statement, Sharon tweeted that her departure from ‘America’s Got Talent’ would not happen with immediate effect, saying that she would remain on the judging panel until the end of the current season. She wrote: “Please don’t misunderstand. I love [‘America’s Got Talent’] with all my heart and will of course finish out the season. It is still one of the best shows on TV”.