Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Sharon Osbourne Opens Up About Trauma Anti-Semitism Had On Her Family

When Sharon Osbourne agreed to do the popular BBC show “Who Do You Think You Are,” in which producers and historians trace the lineage of celebrities, she thought it would be fun. But when it came time to investigate her father’s Ashkenazi Jewish side of the family, in Osbourne’s words, “There was nothing for them to go back to find, everything was destroyed.”

Osbourne learned that her father, who grew up in England and served in the British army during World War II, continued to experience anti-Semitism even when he served as a soldier. In an interview with British tabloid the Sun, the 66-year-old said, “His name was Levy so of course they knew he was a Jew. There he was fighting for his country and everybody was torturing him. People from his own country were torturing him.” She said that she learned that her father’s fellow-soldiers would wake him up in the middle of the night and make him dig holes in the rain, telling him, that they did it “Because you’re a f*****g Jew and this war is over you and this is why we have to fight and you’re going to dig a f*****g hole.”

Like her father, who later changed his name to Don Arden, Osbourne became a successful music manager. She recalled that once, during a business meeting in Germany, an associate apologized for taking her to a restaurant that was “full of Jews.”

On the topic of anti-Semitism, Osbourne had strong words for Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Oh my God, I hate him so much,” she told the Sun. “I want to hurt him. I want to physically hurt this man. He is the most arrogant, ugly f**k. I want to hurt him. Oh my God, he is revolting, so ugly, inside and out. This ugliness oozes from him, he’s repulsive.”

So, that’s cleared up.

Hatred is on the rise, Osbourne cautioned, for all minority groups. “It’s always the Jews or the blacks or the Muslims,” she said. “It’s always been around and it will always be around.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.