Gabrielle Union Reported Racist Incidents At 'America's Got Talent' So They Fired Her
According to several reports, after criticising the workplace culture of the talent show, judge Gabrielle Union's contract was cut short.
After only one season as a judge on the 'America's Got Talent' panel, Gabrielle Union was fired, it was announced this week.
But reports have surfaced that her firing came after she made repeated complaints about the culture at the NBC program, including calling out racism.
The news that Union would not be returning to the show, as well as the resulting context as to her attempting to call out the "toxic culture" of the workplace, has resulted in a Twitter boycott of 'AGT'.
According to a report in 'Variety', Union's complaints included one incident featuring former late-night host Jay Leno who -- when a painting featuring Simon Cowell's dogs was shown in the show -- joked Cowell's pets looked like something "on the menu at a Korean restaurant".
Union reportedly asked producers to report the joke to human resources but according to insiders, the issue was never escalated and the line was dropped from broadcast.
More incidents -- like Union apparently receiving the criticism that her hairstyles were "too black" for the series or reportedly being told that rather than pushing a 10-year-old black rapper, she and the other judges needed to support an act "America can get behind".
Detailed in a major report on 'Vulture', more instances of racism or insensitivity that were called out by Union were similarly dismissed or not escalated, but she apparently received the reputation of being "difficult".
This was also partly due to clashes with fellow judge and the show's producer Simon Cowell who reportedly smokes inside the theatre the show is filmed in which is against the law in California where 'America's Got Talent' is filmed.
While Union has not made a statement on her firing, her husband and former NBA player Dwyane Wade tweeted how proud he was for "standing up for what she stands for".
Following the reports of a toxic workplace, NBC and Freemantle released the following statement to USA Today:
"'America’s Got Talent' has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously."
Union was fired alongside fellow judge Julianne Hough who -- despite claims she also received excessive notes on her appearance -- said in a statement, "I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I loved working with the cast, crew and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC."
Featured image: Getty Images.