NBC Boss Vs. Sharon Osbourne: Reality Series Did Not Discriminate Against Jack and His MS

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.

RELATED | Sharon Osbourne Announces Plan to Leave America’s Got Talent

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.”

VIDEO | Stars Earn Stripes First Look: Celebs Soldier Through a ‘Real-Life Action Movie’

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.”

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22 Comments
  1. Sam says:

    Honestly, this makes sense. If you don’t give a job as an auto mechanic to a guy with arthritis, is it discrimination? No, it’s just common sense.

    • Mal says:

      If that medical condition of arthritis is the reason you don’t give him the job, then yes, it’s the definition of discrimination. Is it common sense as well? Yes. But to base your decision NOT to hire someone on the basis of a medical condition, that’s textbook discrimination.

      • TigerNightmare says:

        There’s a huge difference between illegal discrimination and choosing the best person for the job. Sure, you want to give the guy with one arm a job, he deserves the chance to earn a living as much as anyone. But you know he won’t be as productive as someone with both arms. And honestly, does anyone want to see someone with a severe disability being exploited and surpassed by other D-listers in perfect health? I can imagine a douche like Vanilla Ice or one of the Milli Vanillis calling him out. Stars. Pfft.

      • John Berggren says:

        Not exactly, no. The law does not prohibit you from choosing not to hire someone who is unable to execute the job due to medical condition. Especially in this case since the truer analogy would be someone arthritic not being chosen to be a mechanic, but being offered a job in the accounting department.

      • You are very wrong. A company has every right not to hire you if you physically cannot perform a job or it would endanger your well being and the well being of your co-workers. That does not violate the ADA. You won’t ever see a fireman in a wheelchair out running calls for that exact reason. Same for a police officer. If a job has physical requirements for lifting and moving and you can’t do it, they can legally not hire you. At this point, if he agreed to be medically vetted and the Doctors working for the show couldn’t clear him than that’s it. He agreed to let them see his medical information and they made a decision that is in their best interest.

      • C says:

        ADA only protects if you are capable of doing the job with or without reasonable accommodations. If the mechanic cannot perform the job, then it is not discrimination to not hire him. As for Jack Osbourne, is his story he said he was still having problems with his right eye and did not have all his sight back. That is a legitimate concern for NBC considering the tasks involved with this show and there is no reasonable accommodation to provide when you consider this is a physical competition reality show. There is no ADA violation, whether or not his mom thinks it wasn’t fair.

  2. Velvet says:

    Jack did not pass the medical exam for such rigorous activities on the show. The insurance company would consider him a liability with possible threats to his life and possibly other contestants. Initially, Jack reported losing 60% of his vision in one eye. That does not seem very safe.

  3. Whatever says:

    This is a Reality Show where he could of been badly injured due to the strenuous activity REQUIRED on the show OR someone else on show could of been injured .
    That is not discrimination.

    If he had been injured he could of sued NBC and if another member of the cast had been injured as a direct result of his illness they could of sued NBC for ALLOWING him to participate in the show which resulted in their injury.
    It’s just that simple.

    This particular reality show is physically intense it’s not like the Bachelor.
    They offered him 2 other jobs on the show which if they were trying to discriminate they would not of done.
    If someone wants to challenge there disability / illness that’s great BUT you can’t expect a company to insure you if you could harm yourself or others while you do it.

    It’s not like Jack was asking to work at Walmart.

  4. MissyT says:

    I think the whole show is a disgrace to our Service Men and Women and he should be considered Lucky not to be a part of it.

    • KSM says:

      I think it is a silly show, but I don’t see it as a disservice. If anything, it is allowing Americans to see just how tough the situations are that are faced by the members of the Armed Services. The celebrities chosen are generally celebrities that are very thoughtful; I don’t think they would have gone into the show if anyone in the military had indicated that it was disrespectful in anyway.

  5. Who wants to see this fat kid out there playing soldier anyway? Look at the other contestants and most of them are in really good shape. Then you have this dough boy. No thanks. He should probably worry about his health and not having his mommy fight his battles. How embarrassing to have your Mom try to create a situation to get you a job that I bet any reasonable Doctor would tell an MS patient they shouldn’t be doing.

  6. Mark says:

    Ah, Sharon…you should have thought of this before you went and leaked your son’s health information all over the world so you could go on talk shows and cry.

    • jj says:

      I agree that wasn’t a smart move on her part, but this would have happened regardless. Jack had a medical exam done by NBC, consequently they didn’t need Sharon talking about it on talk shows to know about Jack’s condition.

  7. TheBeach says:

    It has really become ridiculous when various networks, and the families that pitch these shows to them, seem to think people are really interested in seeing family (and extended family) members in all these “reality” shows. Whether it be the Osbournes, Palins, Kardashians, Hogans (and the list goes on and on), I simply don’t care and don’t watch.

    • KSM says:

      Based on ratings, people ARE really interested in seeing them, if they are funny and enjoyable to watch. They are cheap to produce and millions of people watch them every week. It’s mindless fun and allows you a few minutes to step away from the reality that most people face. They wouldn’t make them if they didn’t make them money.

    • I agree. Since when is Jack Osbourne a star? If he wasn’t Ozzy’s kid no one would have ever heard of him. Same goes for the other hideous offspring of theirs. Sharon Osbourne has always put money first though so what do you expect. Not many parents would be upset that their kid with MS, who doesn’t need the money, isn’t going to be out trying to play special forces soldier.

      • JASon says:

        They’re not hideous. They had an awkward phaze when they were growing up but Kelly and Jack both developed into very attractive adults!! It just took a diet!!! People should learn from them!!!

        • Sorry but I will take my vastly more educated self over a couple of morons that have never had to work a day in their lives because their parents are famous. The only thing to be learned from them is leeching off your parents pays.

  8. Kim R says:

    The only thing that struck me as false in this article was Ms. Osbourne saying she can’t be fake. Not to beat a dead horse but when The Talk came back without Leah or Holly, there was nary a mention of the former “friends”. Okay….she can’t be fake. Hmmmmmm…..:)

  9. Kaimu says:

    Honestly if they thought it would have been safe to allow him to compete in the show they would have let him as they would have absolutely played up “competing in the face of adversity” angle to help promote the show.

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