NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt has responded to Sharon Osbourne‘s claim that the network discriminated against her son Jack by cutting him from the cast of the upcoming reality series Stars Earn Stripes because of his recently disclosed multiple sclerosis.
In a recent string of TV/press appearances and capped by a New York Post interview, the Osbourne family matriarch said she would not be re-upping with America’s Got Talent due to the network’s handling of Jack’s Stars Earn Stripes gig, claiming that her son was fired, via email, just days before her was to report for work on the military-themed endurance competition — and not long after he revealed that he had been diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS.
“I just can’t be fake,” she told the Post. “It’s discrimination, and it was badly handled.”
Mama Osbourne said Jack and the series had arrived at a binding verbal agreement, though no papers were ever formally signed.
In a statement shared by our sister site Deadline, Greenblatt said:
“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, [husband] 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.”
Jack, who reportedly participated in a 30-mile endurance race in January, offered to pay for his own insurance policy as a cast member, but Stars Earn Stripes EP David Hurwitz told the Post, “The rigors of the show were too intense for him.”