NBC says it did not discriminate against Jack Osbourne when it decided not to cast him in its forthcoming reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” — a move that led Jack’s mother, Sharon Osbourne, to say she’s quitting “America’s Got Talent” after this season.
Sharon Osbourne says the network had a verbal agreement (though no contract was ever actually signed) with her son to make him one of the contestants on “Stars Earn Stripes,” in which eight celebs take part in simulated military exercises to win money for charity. The show opted not to cast him not long after Jack disclosed that he has multiple sclerosis. Sharon Osbourne then said she was quitting “AGT” and revealed in an interview she was leaving over Jack’s treatment.
“It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled,” she said in the interview.
Osbourne’s comments have prompted a statement from NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt on the matter, in which he says the network didn’t discriminate against Jack Osbourne, and in fact offered him other roles on “Stars Earn Stripes,” which premieres Monday (Aug. 13). The full statement:
“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. 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.”