In an exclusive statement to ET, Welteroth -- who joined the CBS daytime talk show last December -- is responding to her private conversation with Osbourne heard in the audio. Read the full statement below:
I thought we had closed the painful, public chapter of the controversy related to the March 10th show. 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.
I have refrained from speaking with the press or engaging in dialogue on this issue. I reluctantly wade into this now simply to ensure that, as a Black woman, I am not silenced or side-lined.
What I am sharing today is consistent with what I have already shared on camera. Nothing has changed. 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.
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.
"There have been a lot of false narratives spun in the media that frame both Sheryl [Underwood] and myself as co-conspirators in attacking someone," she said. "I just want to take this opportunity to say that that is absolutely categorically false and unfair."
"What I think I enhance at The Talk is just, us having fun," he said. "If somebody says something, or has a story that remotely makes me laugh, or that I think is funny or interesting, we're gonna hammer that. We're gonna go right in there. I think it's mostly about us breaking down the stories and having a good time while doing it."