Sharon Osbourne today reveals her fury at being labelled a racist for defending Piers Morgan over his criticism of the Duchess of Sussex – and the toxic effect she believes 'cancel culture' is having on freedom of speech.
In her first press interview since her explosive departure last month from US chat show The Talk, she tells The Mail on Sunday's You magazine: 'I didn't expect to get to the age of 68 and have all this on me.
'I do not want my legacy to be, ''Well, she was a racist.'' I mean, it's insane. It's just not true.
'I haven't done anything wrong. All I'm talking about is freedom of speech. You say one word wrong in this cancel culture and you're cancelled, fired, off.'
Sharon Osbourne has revealed her fury at being labelled a racist for defending Piers Morgan
The row began when she defended Mail on Sunday columnist Piers after he sparked a firestorm by saying that he didn't believe a word the Duchess had said during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan had said she had suffered suicidal thoughts and claimed she was turned away by Buckingham Palace officials when she sought help.
Accused of racism for doubting the word of a mixed-race woman, Piers clarified his comments by saying that people with mental health issues should be supported, but was still sacked from Good Morning Britain when he refused to apologise.
When she appeared on panel show The Talk, Osbourne clashed with comedian Sheryl Underwood who suggested that could be seen as defending a racist.
The exchange ended with Ms Underwood saying: 'I don't want anyone to watch this and think we're attacking you for being racist.'
Osbourne replied: 'I think it's too late, that seed's already sown.'
It most certainly was.
'I was getting deaths threats,' she says now.
'They were going to kill my little dogs. They were saying, 'We're going to poison the dogs. We're going to come in the night and cut your throat.' And sending terrible stuff to the kids, too.'
The former X Factor judge has installed extra security at the home in Los Angeles that she shares with rock star husband Ozzy.
But asked if she is afraid, she replies: 'I'm not scared of people, but I'm scared of what this country is becoming. Everybody's on edge.'
Osbourne suspects that she was set up by producers on the show – although broadcaster CBS says it has found no evidence of that – and she recalls crying and struggling to breathe after the clash with Ms Underwood.
Osbourne, who has known Piers for 20 years, clashed with comedian Sheryl Underwood on the US chat show The Talk
'I know my faults. I know I behaved badly. I did not behave professionally, but neither did they,' she says. 'I know my part, but I know I'm not a racist.'
The mother of three says she understands the frustrations of ethnic minorities, but likens the demonisation of those deemed to have spoken out of turn to the persecution of alleged Communists in the US in the 1950s.
'The young generation of black people has just had it with being treated the way they've been treated. They're not taking it any more and, OK, I get it. I really do,' she says. 'But you can't go on a witch-hunt.
'It is like the McCarthy era here; where they say you're a Communist and they take your life away from you. Now it's the same way with unconscious bias.'
Last night she won support from Piers – even though she admits in the interview she once slapped him after an argument.
Describing her treatment on The Talk as 'one of the most despicable examples imaginable of cancel culture', Piers said: 'CBS should be ashamed for the way they made Sharon a sacrificial lamb for the woke brigade.
'She was chewed up and spat out at the altar of politically correct bulls*** and it's an absolute disgrace.'
But Osbourne says the experience will not stop her from speaking bluntly. 'This all started with two spoiled young people wanting to be victims, wanting to get publicity,' she says of the Sussexes' interview.
'What are you victims of? What are you complaining about?'