It looks like The Talk cohost Elaine Welteroth is trying to have her cake and eat it too, after she appeared to privately side with Sharon Osbourne following the ex-Talker's explosive on-air feud with Sheryl Underwood. Meanwhile, Welteroth seemed to publicly take a completely different stance on the situation.
New audio footage emerged of Welteroth reportedly apologizing and consoling her former The Talk cohost after filming the now infamous on-air quarrel that led to Osbourne's demise — with Welteroth reassuring the embattled celebrity that no one thinks she's racist. The new clip comes months after Osbourne left The Talk following her and Underwood's heated argument.
As OK! previously reported, Osbourne butted heads with Underwood, who is Black, on the explosive March 10 episode during their segment on Piers Morgan. At the time, Morgan was under fire for the questionable comments he made regarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Osbourne's defense of her pal's freedom of speech took a turn when Underwood questioned how she could defend someone who "uttered" something "racist." Osbourne tearfully responded that she felt she was being placed in "the electric chair" for being Morgan's friend, asking her cohost to show her what the former Good Morning Britain host said that was racist.
The on-air altercation immediately sparked widespread criticism, with CBS launching an internal investigation into the incident after Welteroth reportedly complained of "a racially insensitive and hostile environment" at the show.
After the bombshell episode, Osbourne issued an apology over her "panicked" response and accused CBS of blindsiding her with the segment about Morgan. Meanwhile, Underwood and Welteroth publicly denied that the CBS showrunners framed the Morgan question so it would be blown up.
However, in the unearthed audio recording, Welteroth could be heard siding with Osbourne over the matter, as she apologized and agreed that the network set her up.
The conversation — which was reportedly captured on Welteroth's microphone when she went to visit Osbourne in her dressing room after the on-air feud — began with the brunette beauty revealing that producers wanted her to initiate the Morgan discussion.
"They asked me to ask that question. I said, no I'm not going to ask that question," Welteroth said in the clip, obtained by Daily Mail. According to Welteroth, she told the producers that "this is going to be a train wreck" if they tried to spin the discussion in the way that they did. "Sharon, I'm just so sorry that that went the way that it went," she reportedly said to her distressed former cohost.
Through tears, Osbourne is reportedly heard saying: "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 reassured Osbourne, according to the outlet, that she had her support and insisted that Underwood wasn't trying to attack her. "I just want you to know, Sheryl loves you and respects you so much and had your back behind the scenes. She was not trying to attack you," she reportedly said. "I just hope that once this blows over that you know Sheryl is your friend. She really is your friend."
Welteroth further insisted that no one on the show thinks Osbourne is racist, saying: "[Sheryl] 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."
However, a confused Osbourne couldn't wrap her head around why Underwood wouldn't try to help her apparent "friend" out in that moment. "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?'" Osbourne apparently questioned through sniffles.
Welteroth claimed the producers instructed Underwood to ask the loaded question, admitting that she thought Osbourne was in on the plan, according to the outlet. "They literally made her ask that question," Welteroth claimed, according to the tape. "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 replied. The 68-year-old explained that she received a vague call seemingly from a producer who asked how she would feel if "not everybody" agreed with her on a matter. While she said "fine" at the time, she told Welteroth she had no idea that she was going to be accused of "being a racist."
Welteroth acknowledged that Osbourne wanted both her and Underwood to clarify that she wasn't racist while on-air. The 34-year-old is reportedly heard apologizing over the fact that she may have said: "I don't think you're racist," rather than: "I know you're not," which, according to Osbourne, is a "f**king night and day difference."
"I might have said 'I think,' but I need you to know I f**ing know you're not," Welteroth said, according to the audio.
"They set me up. CBS set me up. And they don't care because they just want ratings," Osbourne allegedly said. "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 ... And I was like, don't f**king make us talk about Selena Gomez after this. This is inhumane," Welteroth replied, confessing that she felt they were all set up. According to the tape, Welteroth said she wasn't prepared for the discussion and was confused when Underwood turned to her and asked what she would like to say about the matter.
"What the f**k? I don't have nothing to say. Why are we having this conversation right now?" Welteroth said of what she was thinking at that time, the tape revealed.
During the bombshell episode that marked the end of Osbourne's ten-year run on The Talk, Underwood said: "Right now I am talking to a woman I believe is my friend. I don't want anybody here to watch this and think we are attacking you for being racist."
However, Osbourne was already aware of the damage done to her reputation, responding: "I think it's too late. That seed is already sown."