Arts&Culture

"Top Chef" host testifies about confrontation with Teamster

"Top Chef" TV show host Padma Lakshmi appeared in federal court in Boston on Monday, and testified she was "terrified" after a member of the Teamsters union, accused of extorting the show's production company for jobs, appeared to threaten her in 2014. "I felt he was saying, 'I might hit you'". "I felt threatened. I have not been involved in anything like that, ever - or since, thankfully", the Indian-born model, actress and author regaled a packed courtroom yesterday about her close-up three years ago with members of Teamsters Local 25.

Lakshmi said the Teamsters had formed a line to block the vehicle from driving farther, the Globe reported, and that her driver "looked terrified" as well.

Lakshmi, 46, testified about meeting season 12 guest star Mayor Martin J. Walsh and first responders from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, calling the sitdown "quite moving and sad".

The events allegedly took place while taping outside Steele & Rye, a restaurant in Milton, Massachusetts. What a shame about that pretty face, ' " according to Boston Herald reporter Laurel Sweet.

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Lakshmi said her heart was pounding during the encounter and felt intimidated. "I was just petrified".

During the trial, Lakshmi recalled an event where the host admitted she was filled with fear when one of the men came up to her auto. "I just didn't want to get out of the vehicle, it was an uncomfortable situation to me", she said, according to the Globe. "I just wanted it to be over". I'm glad they didn't go to Jason's side.

She said her assistants usually try to shelter her from anything that could disrupt filming. She also said she had not seen a picket like this before - the Teamsters used rough-house, intimidating tactics and did not hold signs or pass out fliers promoting their cause, which would have been typical of a picket, she told jurors. "I finally got very anxious and asked what the heck was going on".

Prosecutors say supposed picketing to have the show hire union drivers from Teamsters Local 25 included hurling profanity, as well as anti-gay and racist slurs, at "Top Chef's" non-union production staff. However, Fidler said he believes that he and the other defendants are being treated unfairly and that he had neither engaged in any violent act nor used violent language towards the production company.


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