Padma Lakshmi is headed to court to testify against Boston teamsters who used racial slurs against her and her producers and threatened her life in 2014. Lakshmi and her supervising producer Ellie Carbajal allege that the men surrounded their car and threatened the Top Chef star with bodily harm. The women captured part of the attack on video.
The four men are currently pleading not guilty to charges of extortion and the use of racial and sexual slurs against cast and crew of Top Chef. John Fidler, Daniel Redmond, Robert Cafarelli and Michael Ross testified that they were legally picketing outside of a restaurant where the show was filming. The Teamsters Local 25 members hoped to pressure the production company to hire union crews for the show.
In the video the men can be seen using racial slurs against shocked producer Ellie Carbajal and leering menacingly. “I couldn’t believe they were doing this,” Carbajal testified. “They were grown men.” Prosecutors allege that the verbal attack left Lakshmi and her crew “paralyzed with fear.”
Carbajal also recalls one of the men peering into the passenger window to look at Lakshmi and saying, “That’s the pretty one. We want to smash her face in.”
Police officers were on the scene but offered no aid despite reports that tires on production vehicles had been slashed. “They said [the teamsters] were within their rights,” Carbajal said.
Warning: The video below includes strong racial and sexual language.