Deeper Look Into Gabrielle Union’s Discrimination Complaint Against ‘AGT’ Executives Including Simon Cowell

Gabrielle Union America's Got Talent Complaint Simon CowellSamantha Agate | Talent Recap

After getting fired from America’s Got Talent, Gabrielle Union did not remain silent about the toxic work environment she saw behind the scenes. Though she left the show six months ago, she has continued to speak on the racism and unfair treatment she experienced, now filing a formal complaint.

Union has been a very prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement because she too wants to make real change for the black community, especially in the workplace. This is more relevant now more than ever based on her claims of racial discrimination.

Gabrielle Union Calls Out Simon Cowell For Behavior With Complaint

This complaint calls out Simon Cowell, Fremantle Productions North America, Syco Entertainment, and Universal Television. In the opening statement of the claim, it mentions “racist jokes, racist performances, sexual orientation discrimination, and excessive focus on female judges’ appearances including race-related comments” that Union had to face during her time on America’s Got Talent. The complaint goes on to point out specific instances that the Union felt were racist or discriminatory. They were all previously mentioned in an interview she did with Variety a few weeks ago. About Cowell in particular, she said that he would smoke directly next to her on the soundstage causing her to fall extremely ill. She did make it known to producers that she is allergic to cigarette smoke.


Union said that Simon smoking on set was an example of a literal toxic work environment and she “ended up staying sick for two months straight.” This was a violation of the California law that bans smoking in the workplace. Another incident that ticked her off on set was when guest judge Jay Leno made a racist comment about Asian people. Her issue with this is that the producers and everyone on set basically remarked that they would edit it out. To her, this was not addressing the issue but merely overlooking it. “To experience this kind of racism at my job and there be nothing done about it, no discipline, no companywide email, no reminder of what is appropriate in the workplace,” she said about the lack of action.

Gabrielle Thinks The Investigation Led By NBC Was Not Accurate

After her initial claims were investigated by NBC, it was reported that they found an “overall culture of diversity” on the show. While they agreed there were some areas of the workplace on America’s Got Talent that could be improved, the show has started sensitivity training and made changes to “help screen and elevate issues to human resources more efficiently.” One thing Union’s complaint points out is that the investigator conducted most of their interviews over the phone other than an in-person sit down with Union herself. She felt that this was not a thorough investigation to begin with. She also says she recieved threats not to speak out by some of the higher-level executives.

In the midst of this formal complaint, NBC recently put out a statement that they stand with their black employees during the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd. But, people thought that it was ironic considering one of their black employees, Union, alleges that is not the case behind the scenes. “Do you really?” responded one Twitter user.

Union’s husband Dwayne Wade also directly responded to tweets breaking the story about Union’s complaint. He said, “Y’all have deemed her a liar after months of trying to inform y’all of the issues in the workplace and also make sure other employees of color that comes after her won’t have the same experiences.”


The situation could potentially land Simon Cowell and entertainment execs in court or can lead to arbitration for Union. Cowell has pretty much remained mum on the subject.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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