On the episode, Sharon said, “Did I like everything [Piers] said? Did I agree with what he said? No. Because it’s his opinion. It’s not my opinion…I support him for his freedom of speech, and he’s my friend. I’m not racist…I don’t care what color or what religion anyone is. Are you a nice person? That’s what I judge you on.”
Sheryl replied, “What would you say to people who may feel that while you’re standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don’t agree?”
Their heated discussion continued during ad after the break.
After the clip went viral, Sharon told Variety that she agreed to being asked about Piers, but she was “so hurt, caught off guard and stunned by what [she] was being asked and not prepared.” She said, “I’m a big girl. I’m a professional. However, CBS blindsided me. I don’t know why they did it to me. The show runners told me it came from executives to do this to me.”
CBS conducted an internal review, which reportedly brought up allegations from two former cohosts. Holly Robinson-Peete, alleged that Sharon said she was “too ghetto” for the show, and Leah Remini alleged that she referred to cohost Julie Chen Moonves using racially-charged language on a frequent basis.
Sharon denied all allegations. Her reps gave a statement to Entertainment Weekly, which said, “The only thing worse than a disgruntled former employee is a disgruntled former talk show host.”
In a statement, CBS said, “The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace. We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts.”
Appearing on Fox & Friends a year later, Sharon said, “I was this lamb slaughtered that morning, and CBS denied responsibility…I didn’t want that to be the end of my career, and I thought it was unfair.”