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Elaine Welteroth is heard defending Sharon Osbourne after on-air spat

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I f**king know you’re not racist!’ The Talk’s Elaine Welteroth consoled sobbing Sharon Osbourne and admitted she was ‘set up’ in explosive AUDIO clip after on-air blow-up with Sheryl Underwood – before stabbing star in the back to CBS

  • Elaine Welteroth was caught on a hot mic consoling distraught Sharon Osbourne and reassuring her that she knows she’s not racist, audio obtained by DailyMail.com reveals
  • Osbourne, 68, infamously fell out with her co-hosts after getting into a heated on-air debate with Sheryl Underwood over friend Piers Morgan on March 10 
  • Underwood accused Osbourne of giving ‘validation’ to Morgan’s ‘racist’ views after she defended the British broadcaster for criticizing Meghan Markle 
  • Welteroth later addressed the blowup on air weeks later saying she and Underwood had stayed composed in the face of someone ‘who went off the rails’
  • Both Welteroth and Underwood also vehemently denied that they conspired to set Osbourne up with loaded questions before the show 
  • But Welteroth tells a very different story on the audio tape, admitting to Osbourne that it felt ‘like we were all set up’ by the showrunners 
  • ‘They literally made her [Underwood] ask that question,’ she says. ‘I assumed that you guys had had a pre-conversation so that you were on the same page’
  • She also apologizes to Sharon for not outwardly saying that she knows she is not racist during the on-air confrontation
  • ‘Maybe I didn’t say, “I know you’re not [racist]”, I might have said “I think”, but I need you to know I f**king know you’re not,’ she says 
  • The incident sparked an internal investigation at CBS after Welteroth reportedly complained of ‘a racially insensitive and hostile environment’ at the show

The Talk co-host Elaine Welteroth can be heard consoling a distraught Sharon Osbourne and telling her ‘I know you’re not racist,’ moments after the British TV star’s heated on-air confrontation with Sheryl Underwood.

In a newly unearthed audio recording obtained by DailyMail.com, Welteroth, 34, is heard apologizing to her former co-star and reassuring her that ‘no one thinks she’s racist’ in a conversation in Sharon’s dressing room after the explosive March 10 show.  

She also tells Osbourne that she believes the co-hosts were ‘set up’, revealing CBS showrunners initially wanted her to ask the question that sparked the entire firestorm.

Osbourne, 68, left the daytime talk show in late March after a heated debate over her friend Piers Morgan that saw her publicly fall out with Underwood and her other co-stars at The Talk. 

Scroll down for audio and full transcript 

Sharon Osbourne came under fire on The Talk after defending Piers Morgan in an on-air debate with co-host Sheryl Underwood, which turned heated as Osbourne demanded to know how Morgan is racist

Elaine Welteroth was part of a heated discussion on race during a March 10 episode of the CBS talk show that saw Osbourne publicly fall out with her co-stars and subsequently end her ten-year run on the show

The row began when Morgan stormed out of UK chat show This Morning on March 9 after saying he didn’t believe Meghan Markle was suicidal following her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

When asked to comment on his remarks on The Talk the following day, Osbourne said that although she disagreed with him, she supported Morgan’s right to express his controversial opinion on TV.

Underwood, who is black, pushed back hard and accused Osbourne of downplaying Morgan’s comments and giving ‘validation’ to his ‘racist’ views. 

The incident sparked a wider conversation about race and an internal investigation at CBS after Welteroth reportedly complained of ‘a racially insensitive and hostile environment’ at the show.   

In an on-air address weeks later, Welteroth and Underwood denied claims of a setup and said the two had been forced to stay ‘composed’ in the face of someone ‘who was not listening and who went off the rails into disrespect.’

But an audio recording obtained by DailyMail.com reveals Welteroth appeared to take quite the opposite stance when she discussed the incident with Osbourne behind the scenes after the show.

According to the source who shared the footage, the conversation was captured on Welteroth’s microphone which was still hot when she visited a distraught Osbourne in her dressing room after they finished taping. 

The clip begins with Osbourne, who was with her makeup artist and her son Jack, sobbing, as Welteroth explains that she had pushed back against producers when they asked her to initiate the heated discussion. 

‘They asked me to ask that question. I said, no I’m not going to ask that question,’ Welteroth says. ‘I said to them, this is going to be a train wreck. 

‘Sharon, I’m just so sorry that that went the way that it went.’ 

In an on-air address weeks later, Welteroth and Underwood denied Osbourne’s claims she was setup and said the two had been forced to stay ‘composed’ in the face of someone ‘who was not listening and who went off the rails into disrespect’

 In a series of tweets addressing the controversy on April 13, Welteroth also claimed black women are often ‘painted as villains’ even after maintaining their composure and grace ‘in the face of disrespect’ 

Osbourne, who is in tears, replies: ‘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.

‘It’s like calling somebody a pedophile, you can’t deny it. What do you say?’

Welteroth then goes on to try to console Osbourne and reassure her that she has her co-stars’ support. 

‘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,’ she says. 

‘But I also understand when you had a [long night] of trolls f**king 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.’ 

Osbourne replies sniveling: ‘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’re not. There’s a huge difference. A f**king night and day difference to know.

‘I’ve gone to Sheryl,’ Osbourne continues. ‘I’ve said, “educate me. I need to know about your heritage, I need to know things.”

‘She would tell me to get this book and that book and whatever, and she would help me out with things that I didn’t quite understand.

‘When that came, I was like…it was like somebody punched me in the face.’ 

In the aftermath of the heated exchange, Osbourne had claimed she was ‘blindsided’ on the show with questions about her recent tweet expressing her support for Morgan after his departure was announced. 

‘I am with you. I stand by you. People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth,’ she wrote on Twitter. 

The next day Underwood asked Osbourne on air: ‘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?’ 

Osbourne became defensive and fired back saying she felt like she was being placed on ‘the electric chair’ for being his friend and asked her co-hosts to show her what Morgan had said that was racist.  

‘Right now I am talking to a woman I believe is my friend,’ Underwood said. ‘I don’t want anybody here to watch this and think we are attacking you for being racist.’

Osbourne replied: ‘I think it’s too late. That seed is already sown.’  

Later on in their dressing room conversation, Welteroth sympathizes with Osbourne and claims that showrunners had orchestrated the confrontation by instructing Underwood to ask the loaded question.

Welteroth also slammed the ‘narratives’ framing her and Underwood as ‘co-conspirators and attacking someone’ as ‘false and unfair’

Underwood had also denied the loaded question had been written on their index cards 

‘They literally made her ask that question,’ she says. ‘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. 

‘Just as I’m running out – I always go for a wee four-five minutes before – [the] phone rings: “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. But … it’s not like, “They’re gonna accuse you of being a racist”,’ Osbourne says.

‘Nobody, nobody was even discussing disagreeing with you,’ Welteroth replies. ‘At least from me, I can tell you straightforward. 

‘They said: “Do you have anything to say?” I go, “No. If Sharon wants to comment, Sharon should comment and then we move on to the next topic.’ 

She then goes on to say: ‘And I hear you though, I will take that to heart. You are right, you wanted to hear “you are not a racist, Sharon.” We know that. 

‘I think she [Underwood] thinks she said that but she said, “I don’t think you’re racist.” And I think she meant the same thing. 

‘And really, that’s an enlightening moment for me to hear you say that. I wanna apologize because I don’t know what I said, maybe I didn’t say, “I know you’re not [racist].” 

‘I might have said “I think”, but I need you to know I f**king know you’re not. 

‘I f**king know you’re not,’ Welteroth says. 

The row began when Morgan stormed out of UK chat show This Morning on March 9 after saying he didn’t believe Meghan Markle’s was suicidal following her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey

The controversy stems from Markle’s remarks in the Oprah interview, in which she accused the Royal Family of racism and said she was driven to suicidal thoughts

Osbourne took a stand on The Talk the following day, saying that although she disagreed with him, she supported his right to express his controversial opinion on TV

After the episode aired, Osbourne issued an apology over her ‘panicked’ and ‘defensive’ response, but repeatedly claimed that CBS showrunners framed up the question to provoke an on-air blow up.

Both Welteroth and Underwood then publicly denied that the question had been written on their index cards and slammed ‘narratives’ framing them as ‘co-conspirators and attacking someone’ as ‘false and unfair.’  

In the audio tape, however, Welteroth is heard agreeing with Osbourne when she claims the network set her up. 

‘They set me up. CBS set me up. And they don’t care because they just want ratings,’ Osbourne says. 

‘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.’

Welteroth replies: ‘And that’s the part that’s inhumane … And I was like, don’t f**king make us talk about Selena Gomez after this. This is inhumane.’

Osbourne’s makeup artist interjects saying: ‘Yeah. I heard you say that. I agree 100 on that. How do you transition?’

Welteroth says: ‘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?”

‘What the f**k? I don’t have nothing to say. Why are we having this conversation right now?’ 

The Talk was sent on a month-long hiatus following the heated on-air debate but Osbourne was essentially forced to quit the show

The bombshell audio clip is set to reignite questions over the feud that ended Osbourne’s ten-year run on the daytime talk show. 

DailyMail.com has contacted CBS for comment. 

On Wednesday the network announced Jerry O’Connell would be joining Welteroth, Amanda Kloots, and Sheryl Underwood on The Talk as Osbourne’s replacement.  

A source who shared the footage with DailyMail.com said: ‘This is simply outrageous, what Elaine has said publicly and privately to Sharon are two different things.  

‘Listen to the tape, Sharon is sobbing. Horrified that she has been made out to be racist.

‘Over and over again Elaine reassures Sharon that she doesn’t think she is racist and that she [Elaine] refused to ask the initial question that sparked this.’

‘It is outrageous that Elaine has Sharon’s back behind the scenes and then files a complaint against her to CBS management.

‘Everyone behind the scenes on the show misses Sharon and wants her to come back, they think it is terribly unfair what has happened to her.’

‘This tape truly speaks for itself.’ 

Full transcript of Elaine Welteroth’s dressing room conversation with Sharon Osbourne after on-air blow up on The Talk

ELAINE WELTWORTH (EW): What exactly are we doing right now? Help me understand. They asked me to ask that question. 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.

They go, ‘let me call you back.’ I said to them, this is going to be a train wreck. 

Oh look at this sweetheart, you can tell. Sharon I am just so sorry that that went the way that it went.

SHARON OSBOURNE (SO): 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.

It’s like Jack always says, it’s like calling somebody a pedophile, you can’t deny it. What do you say?

JACK OSBOURNE (JO): It’s like how do you….’come look at my web browser, I’m not a pedophile,’ like, you know?

EW: I don’t think… we…we all agree, when you left we were like, there’s no way that we should just [drowned out by ringtone] in that conversation without having a [garbled] altogether.

I thought…I thought – I was told “Sharon wants to comment on Piers”, I go, “great”! They go, “OK, is there anything you wanna say?” I was like, no. Not at all.’ 

SO: As I was driving in this morning, they said do you want to comment on Piers? I said sure I will, sure.

Four minutes. Four minutes before I went out, they called me and said, “you know, some might not agree with your opinion, is that alright for them to air?” I said of course it is. We talk whatever they feel. You know, we’ll discuss it.

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.” 

EW: ‘It’s so f**ked up. 

SO: These people here, that run this, have no ethics. They don’t care. They just want numbers, numbers, numbers.

EW: Did you speak to them? Did you get anyone on the phone yet?

SO: Nobody’s here. Nobody’s here, the building – the offices are empty. 

EW: 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.

But I also understand when you had night long of trolls f**king 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.

SO: 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’re not.

There’s a huge difference. A f**king night and day difference to know.

I’ve gone to Sheryl, I’ve said, “educate me. I need to know about your heritage, I need to know things.”

She would tell me to get this book and that book and whatever, and she would help me out with things that I didn’t quite understand.

When that came, I was like…it was like somebody punched me in the face. 

EW: I don’t know if you saw but [showrunner] ran up to me before we got on air and she goes I’m so sorry …[drowned out by phone ringing]….enough time

Then I go, “we shouldn’t be talking about this!”

SO: You said that?

EW: Yeah. That’s why I sat there silent thinking, I thought, “okay, Sharon wants to say something. Let her say the thing and then we’ll move on f**king Selena f**king Gomez.

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.

SO: No! No! No! I’m running out. Just as I’m running out – I always go for a wee, four- five minutes before. Phone rings: 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.

But that’s like….it’s not like “they’re gonna accuse you of being a racist.”

EW: Nobody, nobody was even discussing disagreeing with you. At least from me, I can tell you straightforward. They said: “do you have anything to say?”

I go, “no. If Sharon wants to comment, Sharon should comment and then we move on to the next topic. I have enough s**t going on in my own personal life, to be honest, Sharon, I didn’t even read the tweets.

I don’t even what people said to you. I only know because people texted me a screenshot and I go, “okay. Okay, I literally feel nothing.”

But here’s the one thing – and maybe we talk about this more another day – but the thing I hope you’re aware of, because you said in that room you saw something in her eye, you felt like she was coming at you like a journalist. 

Here’s the thing that I just want you to just know: Sheryl and I are held to a different standard by black people and people of color out there who expect us to say something about every racist anything… and it puts us in such a f**ed up position.

That even if we don’t have the information, if we don’t even really care, if we don’t really wanna engage, it feels like there’s a spotlight on us, you know?

I think that Sheryl was trying to navigate that line, you know what I mean, where she was like, “this is my friend.” I know you’re not racist.

And I hear you though, I will take that to heart. You are right, you wanted to hear “you are not a racist, Sharon.” We know that.

MAKEUP ARTIST: I actually just explained that to her right now.

EW: Yeah. I think she thinks she said that but she said, “I don’t think you’re racist.” And I think she meant the same thing.

SO: I know and I don’t think…is like this far away.

[chatter]

EW: And really, that’s an enlightening moment for me to hear you say that. I wanna apologize because I don’t know what I said, maybe I didn’t say “I know you’re not” I might have said “I think”, but I need you to know I f**ing know you’re not.

SO: I know that.

EW: I f**king know you’re not.

SO: I know that. Now I feel the big picture. I know what happened. I know what happened. 

EW: She just told me she got a call at 4 in the morning. It just went f**ing haywire.

SO: No, they set me up. CBS set me up. 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 shit. They just want ratings. That’s all.

EW: And that’s the part that’s inhumane. I was like, don’t f**king make us talk about Selena Gomez after this. This is inhumane.

SO: You said that. You did.

MAKEUP ARTIST: Yeah. I heard you say that. I agree 100 on that. How do you transition?

EW: Yeah we’re not actors. You don’t pay me to be a f**king Oscar-winning actress. No.

MAKEUP ARTIST: That’s right. Yeah you did say that. 

EW: No. 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?”

What the f**k? I don’t have nothing to say. Why are we having this conversation right now?

MAKEUP ARTIST: But even that second sectors.. I was like change topics! Just change it. Don’t even ask. It was just a lot.

EW: It was so much. And it’s like – I’m not even talking to you now, Sharon. I’m not talking – it’s like America. 

Black America, White America, Racist America, it’s like they’re like they’re all watching us and there’s this pressure to demonstrate how to talk about this stuff, but we haven’t ever been guided on how to f**king do this.

I’m not an DNA expert. I didn’t know I was gonna come on here and be the – I don’t know how to do that, actually.

SO: No! Neither do I, I’m just a f**king old woman [background laughter] that has a lot of stories. I don’t f**king care if you’re an alien. Are you a nice alien? Then come sit down.

I don’t give a … I just don’t judge by anything. How can I be a judge of anybody with my heritage? I can’t. And it’s like, for numbers, for ratings, they have done this.

MAKEUP ARTIST: Well it’s your character. This is like who you are as a person and that’s so not anything… 

JO: But it’s CBS offering up one of their own so they don’t have to make an apology.

CBS didn’t wanna have to make it because everyone is so terrified of fanning the flames of the mob that they just went “Alright, let’s just f**king serve her up to her own team that way we don’t have to say anything. Like oh it handled itself.

EW: That’s right. You’re right about that. Because for me I was confused.

When somebody texted me this tweet, I looked at it and I was confused, Sharon, because I thought someone was quoting something you said on the show and I go, “she didn’t say that.”

And then I look more carefully and say oh she tweeted that. And to me, I’m like, that’s her platform.

If you say that on your platform and you’re dealing with trolls your dealing with controversy, that’s your business in your own platform. But why are we addressing things on the show that she didn’t say on the show? 

On the show you walk this delicate tight rope where you really supported your friend but you didn’t alienate people who were people of color who thought you handled yourself really well on the show when you addressed it. Leave it at that.

It happened. It should’ve just been a statement and then move on.

EW: Maybe it’s like, “hey Sharon, you wanna comment on it. Comment on your Twitter, let’s just leave it there or something. Or if you really want us to talk about this – thank you. Is my face looking crazy?

[LAUGHTER/CHATTER] 

Who knows what I look like right now. 

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