Sharon Osbourne was once a happy member of the NBC family, judging America’s Got Talent for seven seasons. But that all came to an abrupt end in 2012 when the network dropped her son Jack from the reality competition Stars Earn Stripes shortly after he disclosed that he had MS. Osbourne says NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy threatened her when she told him her family was considering holding a press conference to protest, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Friday morning. “He said, ‘Go fuck yourself. If you call the press you’ll never work in this town, you fucking witch,’” recalls Obsourne, who says she quit AGT over the dispute.
Telegdy’s rep says the chairman denies Obsourne’s recollection of the conversation, but her account echoes that of Gabrielle Union, another former AGT judge, who filed a complaint with the state of California’s fair employment office in June alleging racism, sexism and a toxic work environment on the show. According to THR, Union included a claim that in February, Telegdy “had threatened her to silence her during the course of an ongoing investigation into workplace practices on set.” NBC released a statement saying the claim anyone harassed Union was “categorically untrue.”
THR has interviewed more than 30 producers, executives, and other current and former insiders who say they have seen Telegdy “mock gay executives, sometimes to their faces; use homophobic and misogynistic slurs; and disparage or make sexual comments about the physical appearance of network talent” and participate in “appalling” discussions including “crude sexual remarks.” In response to the allegations, Telegdy released the following statement to the outlet: “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for. I hope that my actions over decades—empowering those around me, supporting artists, and creating shows with values of aspiration and inclusion at the core—speak louder than the selective words of a few.” A few, in this case, being more than 30. Meanwhile, NBC says they will investigate these allegations—many of which they are hearing “for the first time—and that NCBUniversal “remains committed to creating a safe, respectful and supportive workplace for all.”