…despite her former co-host publicly denying it.
A newly-leaked audio recording allegedly shows The Talk’s Elaine Welteroth agreed with Sharon Osbourne it seemed like she was “set up” by producers to get involved in the explosive on-air fallout with Sheryl Underwood that would ultimately lead to her exit from the show.
The hot mic clip, obtained by Daily Mail, hears Welteroth appearing to console her sobbing then-co-host in her dressing room, telling her that the showrunners had approached her about asking the contentious question — but she refused.
The infamous March 10 episode saw Sharon come under heavy fire for defending her friend Piers Morgan — who had been accused of racism over his continued attacks on Meghan Markle — when she was asked by Underwood on the show: “What would you say to people who may feel that, while you’re standing by your friend, it appears that you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don’t agree?”
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An incensed Osbourne furiously defended herself — which only brought further online whispers of racism over her angry reaction to her Black co-star.
In the wake of the fallout, Osbourne lashed out at CBS, accusing the producers of knowingly throwing her under the bus for ratings. Both Underwood and Welteroth denied any accusations of a set up.
“Even when Black women fight tears to maintain total composure and grace in the face of total disrespect, we are often still painted as villains. In this case, that played out live for the world to see,” Welteroth wrote in a series of tweets firing back at suggestions she and Underwood were co-conspirators.
“For the record: There was no ambush. There was no prep. And none of us wanted what happened,” she wrote.
However, in the leaked audio reportedly captured just after the fallout, Welteroth appeared to agree that it did look like a set up by the producers.
“They asked me to ask that question,” she told the audibly upset Osbourne, per Daily Mail. “I said, no I’m not going to ask that question.”
“I said, wait, what’s the intention of this conversation? Because this could go left so fast,” she apparently said. “I said to them: ‘This is going to be a train wreck.'”
“Sharon I am just so sorry that that went the way that it went.”
As Osbourne lamented that being forced to defend oneself just makes you look guilty, Welteroth said the whole panel agreed there was “no way we should have been set up to have that conversation”, without them all giving approval beforehand.
Osbourne tells Welteroth they asked her to comment on Piers earlier that morning; but four minutes before they began recording they called her and said, “you know, some might not agree with your opinion, is that alright for them to air?” — to which she agreed.
But she added: “I never thought it was gonna be… that. Because… whatever you say you just look guilty. And now everybody’s gonna have that little seed of doubt: ‘Well you know, maybe she’s a bit racist.'”
“It’s so f–ked up,” Welteroth appears to agree.
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“I just want you to know, Sharon. Sheryl loves you and respects you so much and had your back behind the scenes. She was not trying to attack you,” Welteroth continues. “But I also understand when you had night long of trolls f—ing attacking you online, that puts you in a position where you have to defend yourself. You feel like you have to defend yourself.”
“And I know you’re upset. I know it was terrible, but I just hope that once this blows over, that you know Sheryl is your friend. She really is your friend. She doesn’t think you’re racist. I don’t think you’re racist. No one who knows you would ever say that or think that.”
At this point, Sharon demands to know why Underwood didn’t say she knew her friend of 11 years wasn’t racist, rather than just saying “I don’t think you are” — which Osbourne describes as “A f—ing night and day difference.”
“When that came, I was like… it was like somebody punched me in the face,” she said.
After appearing to tell Osbourne she objected to the topic being brought up, and telling producers she didn’t want to weigh in, Welteroth reportedly said: “They literally made her ask that question. And I thought that she was setting it up in way so that you knew – I assumed that you guys had had a pre-conversation so that you were on the same page.”
“No! No! No!” Osbourne replies, insisting they asked her four minutes before: “How do you feel about not everybody agreeing with you.”
“Agreeing with me? Well fine, they can ask me whatever they want. I’m fine,” Osbourne said she told them. “But that’s like… it’s not like ‘they’re gonna accuse you of being a racist.'”
After lamenting the fact that, as Black women, both she and Underwood have a concentrated spotlight on them expecting them to weigh into discussions on race, even when they don’t want to, Welteroth appears to accept that they should have more strongly insisted they knew Sharon was not racist.
“No, they set me up. CBS set me up,” Sharon continues. “And they don’t care because they just want ratings. They don’t care. They don’t care that I will now have to go around and people think I’m racist. They don’t give a s–t. They just want ratings. That’s all”.
“And that’s the part that’s inhumane,” Welteroth reportedly replies. “I was like, don’t f–king make us talk about Selena Gomez after this. This is inhumane.”
She went on: “It felt like we were all set up – particularly you – but I also felt set up because I was like sitting there and Sheryl goes, ‘what would you like to say?'”
“I’m like… what the f–k? I don’t have nothing to say. Why are we having this conversation right now?”
TooFab has reached out to both CBS and Elaine Welteroth for comment.
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