Sharon Osbourne accuses Simon Cowell of underpaying her for X Factor

Osbourne claims clause in her contract entitles her to the same salary as other judges, and says of X Factor hopefuls: ‘They all suck’

Sharon Osbourne has attacked Simon Cowell and The X Factor in an interview with US “shock jock” Howard Stern.

Osbourne has long been on the judging panel for the ITV talent show, and will return to its new UK season as a judge for the live shows. But she accused her fellow judge Cowell, who created the show and whose production company Syco Entertainment co-produces it, of not honouring the salary demands in her contract.

“I have a clause in my contract: ‘favourite nations’. So Simon goes to the press and goes: this is the best 10 million I have ever spent,” she said, referring to the reported £10m paid jointly to Robbie Williams and his wife, Ayda Field, to join the 2018 judging panel. “I’m like, OK, I have favourite nations: where’s my fucking 10 million?”

Stern clarifies: “The clause is that you should make as much as anyone else?” Osbourne replies: “That’s right. I’m waiting to hear … you want me, you have to pay what I’m worth.”

She also expressed relief at not being on the early weeks of the show, before the contestants have been whittled down for the live performances. “I don’t have to have those kids singing in my face,” she said. “They all suck, and it’s like: is this karaoke or what? … It’s the end of my contract now. It’s no holds barred. It’s like: get the fuck off the stage, you’re shit.”

Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor in 2016 with fellow judges Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell.
Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor in 2016 with fellow judges Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell. Photograph: ITV

Cowell, meanwhile, “loves to be on TV … he’ll do whatever he has to do to get that fucking fat face on TV … I like Simon, he’s been very good to me, but he’s a fucking pain in the arse.” Stern jokingly asks who Osbourne would throw overboard if the three of them – Stern, Osbourne and Cowell – were on a sinking boat: “We’d put a brick round his neck and throw him over,” Osbourne deadpans. “I’ll drown you, motherfucker.”

She added that various TV networks had offered to resurrect the reality show The Osbournes, featuring her alongside husband Ozzy, daughter Kelly and son Jack, but “they can’t afford us. Why would we want to do it for fucking peanuts?” She said she had also left the rival talent show America’s Got Talent for salary reasons, and because “[NBC] did something bad to my son”. In 2012, she accused the network of discrimination against Jack Osbourne, claiming it cancelled a show of his after he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; NBC rejected the claims.

Elsewhere in the Stern interview on SiriusXM, she described Robbie Williams as “a good guy”, though actor Ashton Kutcher didn’t fare so well. He had appeared on Osbourne’s US show The Talk, and was described as a “pompous little prick … to me he’s nothing … He sits down next to me and says: ‘What have you ever done to contribute to this industry?’ And I look at him and I go: ‘Don’t start with me, kid.’”


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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