The host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi, testified at a federal trial today involving some of her encounters with angry Teamster union members. Union members from Local 25, John Fidler, Daniel Redmond, Michael Ross, and Robert Cafarelli are accused of threatening to mess with the filming of the popular series.
The production company – who is not involved with the union – didn’t agree to hire laborers from the enterprise.
The men in question have pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy and attempted extortion.
According to a report, the incident in question involved a confrontation between Teamsters and the show’s production team at a Boston-area restaurant where they were filming a scene for the show back in 2014.
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 car.
Milton Valencia, a reporter for the Boston Globe, said of the trial in question, “One guy came up to the car, and I had the windows down. He rested his arm on the door when the window was down, and he said, ‘Oh look here what a pretty face, or what a shame about that pretty face.’ And he said something to my driver which was very derogatory.'”
Lakshmi said her heart was pounding during the encounter and felt intimidated.
“I felt he was bullying me. I felt he was saying, ‘I might hit you.'”
According to one of her co-workers, the men in question said to Lakshmi, “That’s the pretty one. We want to smash her face in.”
However, the men’s defense lawyers said the man did not act violently or threatened and were merely acting within their rights to protest. The prosecutors of the case said Teamsters had “slashed tires, blocked vehicles, yelled profanities and homophobic and racial slurs and threatened to use physical violence.”