NBC denies Sharon Osbourne's discrimination claims against son Jack Osbourne
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/08/2012
NBC is denying Sharon Osbourne's claims that the network discriminated against her son Jack Osbourne when they had allegedly decided to drop him from their upcomingStars Earn Stripes reality show after learning he suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"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," NBC entertainment executive Bob Greenblatt said in a statement.
"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."
The network's alleged decision to axe Jack from Stars Earn Stripes -- which will feature celebrities competing against one another in tough military-style challenges -- came shortly after he had publicly revealed his diagnosis, which led a furious Sharon to announce she's quitting NBC's America's Got Talent over the alleged "discrimination" that was "badly handled," The New York Post reported.
However, America's Got Talent producer David Hurwitz told reporters last month at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network only had Jack's best interests in mind and he had also never officially signed on to be a competitor.
"Unfortunately, because of the strains and the rigors of not only the show, but also our intense shooting schedule, it was best not to go with him at this time," Hurwitz said, according toAccess Hollywood.
"He was somebody that we were in talks with, but he did not get penciled into the final lineup. Prior to us making our decision, it was found out that the rigors of the show were too intense for him."
Both Jack and Sharon aren't denying that Jack never formally inked a 50-page contract the parties had been negotiating, but according to The Post, the Osbournes firmly believed a verbal agreement and commitment should've been sufficient at the time considering Jack's Stars Earn Stripes participation had been discussed in good faith.
Sharon had reportedly been in heated arguments with NBC after Jack was released from Stars Earn Stripes via email in which they "regretfully" declined his participation just two days before the show began production in June, which was the same month he had revealed he has multiple sclerosis.