Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that “when the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” Well folks, when the revolution comes and we have to eat Sharon Osbourne, I don’t think her former assistant will be too mad about it.

The Osbourne family matriarch is currently facing a backlash, after she appeared on the BBC panel show Would I Lie To You?, and told a story about the time she fired a staff member who failed to see the funny side after she sent him into a burning building.

She told the panel that one Christmas, she and husband Ozzy forgot to blow out a candle in the family living room before going to bed. They woke up to the sound of alarms, and after clearing out of the house, she went to wake her staff member up and order him to help.

“I thought, right, where is that assistant?” Sharon Osbourne told the panel. “So I go into the guesthouse, and he’s like: ‘Is everything all right?’ and I’m like: ‘No, the house is on fire, get out and help, go in and get the paintings out’.”

She also instructed him to retrieve the family dogs from the blaze. After he emerged, she took an oxygen mask that had been given to him by a firefighter and put it on a dog, before ordering him to go back inside to get more stuff.

“They came and they had this oxygen for the assistant,” she said. “So I said: ‘How very dare you. You work here. You get more paintings out’.” The employee was understandably fairly mortified by this, and Sharon later fired him for his trouble. She said:

“Well, after this terrible night, he was not talking to me. Ozzy and I were recounting everything, we were laughing and laughing, and (the assistant) said: ‘I don’t see what’s funny about any of this’. He said: ‘I think I’m going to have damaged lungs’. I mean, please.”

“So then I just said: ‘If you don’t think that’s funny, do you think this is funny? You’re fired.”

Yikes.

Others on the panel like Rob Brydon and David Mitchell seemed very mildly taken aback by the story, but Sharon Osbourne has since been criticised for the story, which it seemingly completely true, and does not paint her in a very good light.

YouTube commenters have slammed Osbourne for her “ghastly” behaviour in abusing a staff member and then bragging about it, and The BBC has been criticised for airing the segment as part of a comedy program:

Sharon Osbourne has yet to respond to the criticism. Perhaps she, Ricky Gervais and J.K. Rowling can all just fuck off for a bit, as a late Christmas present to us all.

Image: Getty Images / David Crotty / Patrick McMullan