Sharon Osbourne quits AGT, says NBC discriminated against Jack: fair?

When Sharon Osbourne and Jack shared the news of his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Jack mentioned that he had been fired from a job due to his illness. He said on The Talk that he “had just booked a job, right when I got diagnosed, and unfortunately the company that hired me didn’t think I could actually perform the job,” and added that he was fired via e-mail “At not one point did anyone ever call and ask me. It was all through agents and lawyers.”

It seems that Jack’s mom Sharon took her son’s loss of work to heart. She just announced that she’s not returning as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” next season because the network, NBC, canned Jack after he was diagnosed with MS. In response, NBC has issued a statement that Jack’s upcoming role on the show was not confirmed and that they offered him other positions that he turned down. It’s not as cut and dried as it sounds – the job was as a participant on a reality show in which celebrities competed in military-style fitness drills, titled “Stars Earn Stripes.” It’s not like NBC told Jack he couldn’t be on a cooking competition. Here’s more:

Producers of the “Stars Earn Stripes” show — which will pit celebrities against one another in military training exercises — fired Jack by e-mail two days before he was to report to work, then lied about it to the press, Osbourne claimed.

“I just can’t be fake,” she said. “It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled.”

After a series of heated exchanges with NBC brass over the issue, Osbourne said, she has decided not to return next season to top-rated “AGT.”

“It’s time to move on,” she said.

While Osbourne remains under contract, “They can’t make me do something I don’t want to do,” she insisted. “All they can do is stop me from being a judge on another network for five years.”

Osbourne said ‘AGT’ producer Simon Cowell had tried to make peace between the network and his longtime friend but that she’s not budging. – From The NY Post

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt rejected America’s Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne’s claims that the network discriminated against her son, Jack.

“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 said.

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,” he continued. “This network does not discriminate on any basis.” – From The Hollywood Reporter

[From The NY Post and Hollywood Reporter]

I feel for The Osbournes, and I admired how Jack handled his MS diagnosis and went public with the news – I said so at the time. This family is nothing but candid, but sometimes they share too much with the public, and that’s the case here. Someone from the show should have called Jack and spoken to him personally, but I don’t see how it’s discrimination to pull the plug on a celebrity’s participation in a grueling fitness show after they were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It’s common sense. Stress and strenuous exercise can exacerbate MS symptoms and this job could have been disastrous for Jack. In that NY Post interview, Sharon admitted that NBC agreed to pay Jack’s original appearance fee, and they said they offered two other roles for him. How is that discrimination, when they’re potentially liable if Jack gets hurt or permanently damages his health?

These photos are from the Total Recall premiere on 8-1-12 and the CBS Upfronts on 5-16-12. Credit: Sharon is also shown with Kelly at the People’s Choice Awards on 1-11-12. Credit: Fame Flynet

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32 Responses to “Sharon Osbourne quits AGT, says NBC discriminated against Jack: fair?”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I think the network has done the right thing.
    My opinion is that he has been diagnosed since few months, and probably he is still angry about it, and he thinks he can do all the things he used to do before. Which is partially possible, but he has to stay careful.

    • olcranky says:

      agreed, allowing Jack to continue with the show would have created a huge potential liability for the producers etc and I’m sure the lawyers for the production company and network, understandably, wanted no parts of that

  2. The Original Mia says:

    Typical bombastic self-promotion from Sharon Osbourne. She admits NBC offered Jack money & other roles, but she goes out & accuses them of discrimination. Ugh. Just admit you were ready to leave the show and move on.

    This is why Jack, Ozzy, and the silent sister Amy are the only likeable Osbournes.

    • Stacey says:

      Let’s be honest. What did Jack bring to the table? How did he get the job?

      So he got fired from his first job. It’s happens. Move on.

    • yoyo says:

      OMG I just can’t stand this woman anymore, good riddance! Why is everything ALWAYS about her?! You don’t hear Jack kicking a fuss about this, no, she is. Why? This has nothing to do with you. Can you imagine if your mother went to talk to your boss when you are an adult because you and your boss couldn’t agree on the terms of your employment. Can you believe the embarassment?! How emasculating!

      Of course Jack couldn’t get insured once he got diagnosed and of course the producers couldn’t put him in the middle of the action. They offered him other gigs,he wasn’t interested, fair enough. Why is smothering drama mama harping on about it? Her and Kelly are 2 of the most obnoxious “celebrities” ever, they give a new definition to narcissism.

      Good riddance!

  3. Marla says:

    I see a lawsuit coming… I feel bad for Jack, but I call bullshit on discrimination . Sharon Osbourne is a notorious bitch and most likely is stirring this pot. By the way, Kelly looks like a zombie !

  4. blacksred says:

    And this story does not help “my opinion” that Sharon is a bully.

  5. Skins says:

    The only reason anyone in this family gets offered anything is because of Ozzy

    • Holl says:

      exactly! Beggars cant be choosers and quite honestly the network should not have someone with a medical disorder on a bootcamp type show because of the potential of injury/liability. They offered him other work that he (as a reality “star” from what…10 years ago?) doesn’t even rate. Kelly and Sharon are nasty personalities and they should be lucky they are on any show. No wonder Ozzy is so frazzled.

  6. Aud says:

    Sharon being her usual odious self.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I would imagine when he signed the contract with the show, there was some wording about “good physical health” and that medical screenings would be required. I can’t blame them for voiding the contract if he didn’t meet the requirements, as bad as I feel for him with his diagnosis. It’s their liability, but also I would hope they did it out of concern for him – why push him to do something he shouldn’t?

    If they really just fired him and didn’t discuss it, that’s incredibly low, but I’m not sure I believe Sharon on that one.
    And if they offered him other jobs that were better suited to his physical condition, I don’t see how they were discriminating. I wish Jack a lot of luck with his health, but this seems like grandstanding from Sharon.

    • Blue says:

      He never signed a contract. They had a verbal agreement and some email correspondence between him and the show producer. They emailed him 2 days prior to shooting and told him he was out. Typical Sharon skimming over the other facts. If something had happened to her son while shooting she would have been bitching about that too. I think NBC should sue her ass.

  8. I'mSupposedToBeWorking says:

    While I agree that Sharon might be stretching it a bit, her reaction is pretty normal. If it was my son, I’d be pretty mad and maybe a little irrational too.

    NBC really needs some sensitivity training or something. There was the whole Conan debacle, the poor treatmant of Ann Curry (yes, she needed to go, but they were pretty awful in how they did it), the whole deal with Community, and now this. One of the big complaints by the Osbournes is how NBC handled it and treated Jack. Maybe this wouldn’t be going on now if they had been human about it, rather than sending a team of lawyers with papers to let him know he was fired.

  9. Lol says:

    My god HER FACE!! in ten years she will be jocylen wildenstein!

    • Vibius says:

      I do not watch AGT, so I must have missed her transformation – I thought CB used the wrong celebrity in the thumbnail.. I used to watch the Osbornes, but she looks nothing like Sharon from that TV show.

  10. BRE says:

    I have an autoimmune disease and can only work part time but I feel grateful that my husband makes enough to support us and I can afford the expensive medical treatment. She is bitching about her son NOT getting a job that he doesn’t NEED to support himself. It’s stupid reality show! She has lost touch with reality complaining about her son when so many people in this country that have MS and other diseases can’t make enough to finance their medical treatment.

  11. Theresa says:

    She seems a histrionic type, prone to over-bearing and overly dramatic behaviour. I bet she’ll regret it later, if and when an opportunity comes up that she wants. 5 yrs is a long time to not be able to practice your oeuvre, she’ll eventually cry foul again against NBC for cutting her off at the knees. And all for pride and ego.

    If she (and Jack probably sanctioned everything) had been more reasonable, they could have turned the gig into something still celebrating his ability to overcome a tragic medical diagnoses. I wish someone would reveal what the other opportunities were. Hosting? Providing commentary? I am sure it wasn’t cleaning up the commissary!

  12. reddmasters says:

    So basically Jack was in talks to be a part of a show called “Stars Earn Stripes”; he never signed a contract, so how could he be fired? The network offered to pay him anyway, but his mother refused the pay for him. Why would anyone want to hire Jack (or Kelly) for a show that purports to have “Stars” on it? Neither of these hanger ons are stars.

  13. hmmmm..... says:

    She’s starting to grate on my nerves. Under no circumstances would I want any one of my sons to compete in something as stressful and potentially dangerous as that show, if they had just been diagnosed with that disease.

    Clearly she’s not thinking things through rationally and NBC did the responsible thing and offered alternative positions on the same show and compensation.

    She’s turning into an unreasonable diva.

  14. Lisa Marconi says:

    He needs to go on Low Dose Naltrexone to arrest further damage from MS.

  15. Beatrice says:

    I won’t miss her a bit on AGT

  16. taxi says:

    Good riddance to them both. Sharon’s only talent is being an over the top diva & as far as I/ve seen, neither Jack nor Kelly have any talent at all. Bye bye & tata.

  17. Str8Shooter says:


    Let this UGLY, shrieking harpy go away and be gone forever. Quit your lame-ass ‘talk show’. Stop whoring out your kids’ problems for your own self-promotion

    God, I can not STAND this woman or her ugly-ass no-talent daughter!!!

  18. alys says:

    Whether or not he was hired it seems NBC did approach Jack about a job then withdrew the offer based on his MS diagnosis.

    NBC did not say they had him medically vetted even though they said they do this for participants.

    SO, they made a decision based solely on diagnosis and not on his physical ability or lack thereof.

    This is disability discrimination.

    Just because someone receives an MS diagnosis does not mean they are unable to do tasks/jobs.

    But it does mean that from point of diagnosis people with MS or any other progressive, incurable disease are protected from disability discrimination. Something NBC should have known.

    Whether or not Jack signed the contract is moot, NBC wanted him and stupidly made it appear they withdrew the offer stictly because of his diagnosis.

    Guess what? That is illegal and Sharon is right, it is discrimination. It is her choice not to support NBC because of their actions.

    Also, so the show is about strenous physical activity? WHo are they, or anyone, to judge what Jack Osbourne is capable of? Especially when they make a point of saying they medically vet potential participants and did not make a point of saying they did vet Jack.

    NBC are fortunate the Osbournes are taking the high road and not suing them. Perhaps they should and teach the judgemental so and so’s at NBC a lesson where it counts-in their wallets.

    People with this or similar conditions are in a very difficult position. People judge and often wrongly.

    • Ashley says:

      Uh, nope.

      Diagnosis alone is grounds for altering a job. If you know about MS, it is a disease that doesn’t have any day-to-day condition. People with MS can go for long periods of time just fine and then quickly deteriorate and come back – it’s a rollercoaster illness. So you’re arguing that NBC had a duty to let him compete until he potentially had an attack and injured himself or someone else? That’s not the way the law works (trust me, I do this stuff for a living). I represented a security firm that denied a job to an applicant with epilepsy because he could have a seizure while holding the gun or Taser they used. They offered him a desk job, he refused and sued them, and they won – because even though his “day-to-day condition” was usually fine, the risk that he’d have a seizure and harm himself or someone else was too high and too much of a liability for the company. That’s how it works – not the way you suggest.

  19. Synamin says:

    MS is a complicated disorder. I think they are both in an angry phase of denial. It would be dangerous for him to participate in the show.

  20. Ashley says:

    This pisses me off because I actually am a lawyer and have actually done employment law work, including work with people with disabilities. NBC would have been taking on a huge liability by letting Jack compete on a show that posed risks like these. If he got injured, he could turn around and sue them for letting him compete. That’s why most shows that have a physical element require contestants to be in pretty good health. And NBC did the right thing by offering him alternative opportunities that were less risky. That he turned them down is not NBC’s problem. An employer needs only offer another job of comparable worth – that’s often enough.

    It’s not pleasant when you have to discuss disability and limitations, since most people want to go beyond them. But it’s a safety and liability issue for the employer. So I side with NBC on this.

    • alys says:

      You are quite right when you say an employer needs to offer another job of comparable worth.

      What you did not say is this is the case only if a disabled person cannot do the job which is on offer or which they were hired for.

      No organization or person can treat a person with MS differently simply because of their diagnosis because this is discrimination.

      Disability Discrimination
      source-US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      “Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee *or applicant* unfavorably because she has a disability.

      Disability discrimination also occurs when a covered employer or other entity treats an applicant or employee less favorably because she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is controlled or in remission) or because she is *believed* to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if she does not have such an impairment).”

      As far as anyone knows NBC withdrew the offer because they believed Jack to have a physical or mental impairment where none has been shown to exist.

      Its pretty clear. If an employer does choose to fire someone or withdraw an offer of employment, in this case because of an MS diagnosis, the burden of proof falls on the employer to prove that the person with MS cannot do the job.

      NBC by offering the job felt Jack was a qualified applicant and so far have not produced such proof to the contrary.

      • Ashley says:

        ” this is the case only if a disabled person cannot do the job which is on offer or which they were hired for.”

        Your misreading the law. That does not mean “if the disabled person has not shown symptoms, they cannot be denied employment.” It means “if at any time in the future, the disabled person cannot do the job.” For example – if you were an epileptic and had only had one seizure a long time ago and had no current symptoms, you can still be denied a job working a motor vehicle or heavy machinery. Does it matter that you are currently asymptomatic? Nope, not under the law. The law cares about your diagnosis – and that you may have more seizures in the future.

        You’re essentially arguing that because Jack was asymptomatic at the time, NBC had a duty to continue with him – and expose themselves to liability both for him and for others.

        Not all disability discrimination is illegal (something you seem to not be noting). Discrimination is totally legal if physical fitness is a Bonafide Occupational Requirement (BFOR). To work on a show that mandates heavy physical challenges, the absence of physical problems is a BFOR. So Jack was technically discriminated against – but it’s legal. A man with Bipolar disorder can be denied employment as a police officer because of his disorder (another one of my cases) – perfectly legal. You are going off the assumption that discrimination is illegal – and it’s often not, such as the case here.

        And I should point out that Jack’s offer was contingent upon the satuisfactory completion of a physical – the contract was not yet signed. The offer, at least from my reading, was that, due to his MS, he failed the exam. They offered him a position of comparable worth, he rejected it. Seems pretty simple.

  21. alys says:


    There is no “reply” button so I will post this and take the hint lol

    This situation is not an illustration of positive discrimination so I didn’t see the point of mentioning it.

    The crux of this matter is Essential functions of the job.”Essential functions” refers to those activities that are intrinsic to the job, they determined individually for each job. The exact definition from the law reads:

    “The term ‘qualified individual with a disability’ means an individual with a disability, who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position…” (Title 1, Section 101, (8)).

    If he could perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, and the offer was still withdrawn, it would appear Jack was discriminated against.

    This has been an eye opening debate..

    • Ashley says:

      But you’re not really addressing the issue I raised. He can, without a doubt, perform all the essential functions NOW – because he has no symptoms. The test about essential functions comes in when a person is symptomatic. The relevant question is whether he could perform the essential functions of the job WHILE symptomatic with reasonable accomodation. If the answer to that is NO, then it’s legal. And that is the point – NBC has no clue whether Jack could complete the show totally asymptomatic. If his MS did flare up while shooting, he couldn’t perform what needs to be done, with or without reasonable accomodation. That is the crux of the issue. You’re suggesting that because he doesn’t have symptoms NOW, this is unfounded. And that doesn’t factor into the debate.