*“The Talk’s” Elaine Welteroth is speaking out after audio was leaked of her consoling former co-host Sharon Osbourne following her on-air racially-charged debate with Sheryl Underwood.
In a report published by the Daily Mail on Thursday, Welteroth is heard talking with Osbourne immediately after the March 10 episode, during which Sharon defended friend Piers Morgan against his seemingly racist comments about Meghan Markle.
“I thought we had closed the painful, public chapter of the controversy related to the March 10th show,” Welteroth said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Today, however, I learned that my private comments made moments after the incident from a place of compassion to a then-colleague (the most senior level co-host on The Talk) were recorded —without my consent or knowledge—and shared with the media.”
In the audio, Welteroth claimed that producers asked for her to initiate the conversation that ultimately left Sharon in tears and raging at Sheryl.
“They asked me to ask that question. I said, ‘No I’m not going to ask that question,'” Welteroth said to Osbourne. “I said, ‘Wait, what’s the intention of this conversation? Because this can go left so fast. … I said to them, ‘This is going to be a train wreck.'”
“Sharon I’m just so sorry that went the way that it went,” Welteroth said, with Osbourne responding, “Do you know what it is, though? When you have to sit there and defend yourself, it makes you look guilty because you can’t get out of it.”
Welteroth also tells Osbourne, “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 feed that.”
Osbourne responds, “But why couldn’t she have said, ‘I’ve known you for 11 years, I know you are not racist,’ instead of ‘I don’t think you are, no, I know you aren’t.’ There’s a huge difference.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) July 14, 2021
Welteroth said in a statement to ET that she was “unlawfully recorded without consent.”
She also noted that she was initially reluctant to publicly comment on the controversy surrounding Osbourne, but “I reluctantly wade into this now simply to ensure that, as a Black woman, I am not silenced or side-lined,” she explained.
“What I am sharing today is consistent with what I have already shared on camera. Nothing has changed,” the former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief stated. “It is not news that I did not call Sharon a racist and it is certainly not news that the way the show unfolded caught us all by surprise. None of us wanted that day to go how it did and I do not regret sharing these feelings in a private conversation with a colleague. I welcome fair, constructive dialogue and I am no stranger to tough conversations about race. But I will not be vilified for telling the truth, on or off-air.”
She continued, “To set the record straight, it was not a hot mic — I was unlawfully recorded without consent. And I never filed a complaint with HR against Sharon Osbourne or anyone else. I am disheartened, however, that my kindness has been taken out of context and weaponized in an attempt to absolve responsibility for someone else’s actions. I was honored to join The Talk to add my voice to important and lively conversations. I am so excited about the next chapter with our new co-host Jerry O’Connell and I am grateful for the new perspectives he will bring to the show.”
On Wednesday, “The Talk” announced that Jerry O’Connell would be taking over Osbourne’s seat.