- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2017

Three years ago, cooking competition judge Padma Lakshmi was threatened with violence by a group of Teamsters, a television producer has testified in a federal court in Boston, Deadline Hollywood reported on Wednesday.

The incident unfolded when Miss Lakshmi attempted to cross a picket line in June 2014. That’s when the union members accosted the “Top Chef” star. 

“They swarmed her vehicle and surrounded it,” Ellie Carbajal, a “Top Chef” producer told the jury, according to Deadline Hollywood. “That’s the pretty one. We want to smash her face in,” Miss Carbajal recalled hearing from picketers.

What’s more, in audio Miss Carbajal recorded at the time, one of those men, Daniel Redmond, sneered that she was a “towelhead” and “c—t.” It’s unclear whether he was referring merely to Miss Carbajal or to Miss Lakshmi, or perhaps both.

Towelhead is a derogatory term for Muslims. Miss Lakshmi is a practicing Hindu, telling the Guardian newspaper years ago of the return to the faith of her youth after years of professing atheism.

The ex-wife of novelist Salman Rushdie — the target of a religious death sentence by Islamic clerics in Iran — Miss Lakshmi is certainly no stranger to threats of violence. 

Tuesday’s courtroom testimony is part of an ongoing extortion trial. Mr. Redmond and four other Teamsters are alleged to have essentially bullied “Top Chef” producers to hire union members for the show’s production crew, according to Deadline Hollywood. 

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