A day after Sharon Osbourne explained that she was quitting her role as judge on “America’s Got Talent” because another NBC show, “Stars Earn Stripes,” booted her son, Jack, following his multiple sclerosis diagnosis , the network denied the claims.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt issued a statement on Monday about the dust-up, in which he attempted to soothe hurt feelings just weeks after Sharon first started making noise about leaving summer ratings magnet “AGT.”
“First, we have the deepest affection for Sharon Osbourne and consider her to be part of the NBC family,” wrote Greenblatt. “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. 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.”
Osbourne took the feud public over the weekend, when she told the New York Post that, “I just can’t be fake … it’s discrimination, and it was badly handled.” She claimed that the producers of “Stars Earn Stripes,” a reality show that will feature celebrities battling one another in military training exercises, had fired Jack, 26, from the series by e-mail just days before he was to start filming.
Sharon claimed that NBC had lied about the incident after Jack appeared on his mum’s other show, “The Talk,” and claimed he was fired from the show because of his condition. The show’s producer denied that claim in June at a press conference, saying Jack was never officially hired, but that producers had been in talks with him that were never solidified.
Osbourne sent a tweet to fellow judge Howard Stern several weeks ago hinting that she might quit, and that it wasn’t about the money. She told the Post, “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.” Sharon has been a judge on the show since 2007.