Sharon Osbourne is speaking out about her own experience as a judge on America’s Got Talent following Gabrielle Union‘s controversial firing.
On Monday’s episode of The Talk, the women discussed Union’s departure with Osbourne, 67, sharing, “It’s hard.”
“Everybody’s experience on a show is different, and I was at that show for six years. I didn’t get let go,” Osbourne continued.
Osbourne went on to explain that it wasn’t the show itself that pushed her to leave, but instead the network NBC.
“I left. And that’s the truth. I left because NBC, not because of the show. I had my own problems with the network. I don’t know about any of her concerns about the show,” Osbourne said of Union’s grievances.
“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.”
“The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network,” Osbourne added.
Co-host Sheryl Underwood later chimed in, defending Union saying: “I am always proud when someone in the workplace has the courage to stand up for what is right.”
“It’s something that we need to talk about… things that are appropriate and things that are inappropriate,” Underwood said.
Osbourne was on season 2 through 7 of the competition series. She announced her departure in July 2012.
Later that year she revealed her reason for leaving, explaining it had to do with her son Jack Osbourne.
Osbourne told the New York Post that Jack was supposed to work on a new reality TV series Stars Earn Stripes — which pit celebrities against each other during military-like training activities — but she said the network cut ties with him after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Osbourne said at the time Jack was fired by email just two days before he was scheduled to report to work.
“I just can’t be fake,” Osbourne told the New York Post. “It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled.”
In response, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt told the Associated Press: “This is coming out of context and sort of spontaneously, and we don’t even know what’s going on.”
Stars and Stripes producer David Hurwitz also spoke out to the Post, explaining Jack was never formally hired and that there were doubts he’d be able to handle the show. “The rigors of the show were too intense for him,” Hurwitz told the Post.
NBC’s latest controversy started last month just days after news broke that Union, 47, and Julianne Hough — who joined the season 14 AGT judging panel back in February, replacing spots vacated by Mel B and Heidi Klum — would not be returning for the show’s upcoming 15th season. (It has yet to be announced who will replace Hough and Union for the upcoming season.)
On Nov. 26, a report by Variety claimed that while working on the show, Union had expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge, including a joke guest judge Jay Leno allegedly made that was later edited out of the episode.
Union and Hough, 31, were also both subject to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, sources alleged in Variety‘s report.
A spokesperson for NBC and Fremantle previously responded to the claims with a statement to PEOPLE on Nov. 26: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show.”The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
Union broke her silence on her controversial departure last Wednesday, thanking her followers for their support during this difficult time. “So many tears, so much gratitude,” she tweeted. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”
On Sunday, Syco Entertainment, which produces AGT, released a joint statement with NBC and production company Fremantle. “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” said the statement, obtained by PEOPLE.
“We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate,” the statement concluded.
Following the statement, Union shared a tweet from freelance writer and host Joelle Monique and commented on the proper way to apologize.
In her tweet, Monique outlined what makes for a “solid apology”: “1. Sincerely admit wrong doing directly to the offended party. 2. Be twice as loud correcting your mistake as you were making the mistake. 3. Lay out steps to correct your behavior in the future. Anything less is covering your own a–.”
Union retweeted Monique’s post, adding, “This! This! AND THIIISSSSSSS!!!!!!”
On Monday, Leno spoke out for the first time since the allegations surfaced.
“I love Gabrielle Union. She’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her,” he told TMZ. “She’s really good.”
When asked if she was treated fairly on the hit competition series, Leno said, “I don’t know … but I think she’s a great girl.”
In a statement to Variety last week, Hough denied that she had a negative experience working on the show. “I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” said Hough, who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
Representatives for Hough, Union, Cowell and Leno have not responded to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
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