Gabrielle Union On Leaving ‘America’s Got Talent’: ‘I Felt Isolated, Singled Out’

Brenda Watkins
May 29, 2020

In a joint statement, NBC and "America's Got Talent" producers Fremantle and Syco Entertainment announced that their investigation found no evidence of racial and gender bias on the set following Gabrielle Union's termination from the reality show, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Variety previously reported that Union, who is black, believed she was sacked because she had asked NBC and the show's producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks. "I want to come to work and be healthy and safe and listened to", she said.

NBC promised to investigate the situation further in December of previous year, following a meeting with Union, which came after Variety ran a report in November in which sources alleged that there was a "toxic culture" behind the scenes of the series. Leno joked that the dogs looked like something one could find "on the menu at a Korean restaurant" - much to the chagrin of "the very few Asian staffers" on the show.

She realized that she wanted "real change" and it should not be limited to "AGT". "I'm a part of a show that hired one of my co-workers who had an unfortunate incident doing blackface", she said, referring to Julianne dressing up as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren-a character played by black actress Uzo Aduba on Orange Is The New Black-for Halloween in 2013.

She has now told Variety she raised concerns with producers but "felt singled out as being difficult". "I took it seriously". At the end of 2019, Gabrielle shook Hollywood by speaking up about the toxic work environment she experienced while on the show, but we never received the full story.

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"I couldn't escape", she said. Just this past week, she dropped in on Desus & Mero's show to talk about Michael Jordan's documentary The Last Dance and her "Shady Baby" Kaavia.

"You can not edit out what we just experienced". There is not an edit button in my brain or in my soul. The company reportedly "immediately engaged an outside investigator", but did not corroborate her experience.

The statement added, "The investigation has not shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had any bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract".

On Wednesday, NBC, along with "AGT" producers, issued a statement regarding the matter. "While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved".

Union said she initially signed up for "AGT" because it would give her "the experience of being a part of a show that hails itself as the biggest stage in the world", one that is "super diverse" and prides itself as "giving people the opportunity to shine where they otherwise probably wouldn't". "My goal is to create the happiest, most high-functioning, inclusive, protected and healthy example of a workplace".

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