"The Talk" co-host was heard in leaked backstage audio from the infamous episode that would lead to Sharon Osbourne's departure suggesting to Sharon she likely was set up.
Elaine Welteroth has broken her silence after leaked audio from the set of "The Talk" that featured her comforting then co-host Sharon Osbourne backstage on the day of the infamously racially charged conversation between Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood that would lead to Osbourne leaving the show.
Osbourne has said on multiple occasions that she felt set up by the producers of the show, and in the audio leaded to The Daily Mail, it certainly sounded like Welteroth was agreeing with this sentiment in the moment, going so far as to suggest they were all set up.
Now, in a statement released to ET, Welteroth is saying that not only are her words being taken out of context, but they are being "weaponized" to defend Osbourne.
"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," she said of the moment itself. "To set the record straight, I never filed a complaint with HR against Sharon Osbourne or anyone else."
"I am disheartened, however, that I was recorded without my consent and that my kindness has been taken out of context and weaponized in an attempt to absolve responsibility for someone else's actions," she continued.
From there, she pivoted toward looking ahead, referencing Osbourne's recently announced replacement. "I was honored to join 'The Talk' to add my voice to important and lively conversations," the statement reads. "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."
The hot mic clip between Welteroth and Osbourne has Welteroth appearing to console her sobbing then-co-host in her dressing room, telling Osbourne that the showrunners had approached her about asking the contentious question — but she refused.
The infamous March 10 episode saw Osbourne 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?"
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.
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. TooFab has reached out to CBS for comment.
"They asked me to ask that question," Welteroth 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."
"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."
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?"