11/27/2013 AT 12:15 PM ET
Has TV chef Nigella Lawson been abusing cocaine, cannabis and prescription pills for more than a decade?
That’s what the The Taste judge’s two assistants claimed Tuesday in a British court, in an explosive hearing that now seems to be targeting Lawson’s character.
A U.K. rep for Lawson, 53, declined to discuss the new reports with PEOPLE, citing he “can’t comment during live proceedings.” But according to the U.K’s Telegraph, the prosecutor on the case told the court, “This is a totally scurrilous account which has been raised by the defense.”
Those who work with Lawson agree. Despite the recent accusations, ABC is moving forward with the second season of Lawson’s reality show The Taste, which filmed in L.A. this past fall. “The show will air as planned beginning Jan. 2,” a rep for the network said.
Lawson’s fellow Taste judge Anthony Bourdain also posted a message to Lawson on his Twitter feed, saying “what utter horse–––t!”
For her part, Lawson’s only comment has been to post a holiday hotcake recipe on her Twitter account, telling fans “the perfect recipe to show thanks for all your support & to those who hashtag #teamNigella.”
Lawson’s new controversy started last year when her then-assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, were arrested and charged with defrauding Lawson’s ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, 70, out of almost half a million dollars. But they claim that they were allowed to use his company credit card in return for keeping quiet about the British chef’s alleged drug use.
A judge ruled that the sisters’ “bad character” claims about their former boss could be used in court as part of their defense, and that means Lawson could be cross-examined about her alleged drug use when she gives evidence in the case, The Telegraph reports.