Gabrielle Union Calls Out Jimmy Fallon, Julianne Hough, And More Celebs For ‘Racist Behavior’
Gabrielle Union’s beef with NBC and America’s Got Talent isn’t over, and this time she’s naming names. Those names include talk show host Jimmy Fallon and Gabrielle’s fellow former AGT judge Julianne Hough.
Earlier this week, Gabrielle filed a harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, against Universal, Syco, Fremantle, and Simon Cowell. This comes after an investigation disputed her claims of racism and a toxic environment at AGT last year.
Gabrielle Union Calls Out ‘AGT’ Co-Star Julianne Hough
According to Page Six, Gabrielle calls NBC “a snake pit of racial offenses” in her filing. She specifically points to AGT‘s hiring of Julianne Hough as a judge, despite her “widely publicized scandal for personally appearing in blackface.”
In 2013, Julianne came under fire for darkening her skin while dressed as the Orange Is the New Black character “Crazy Eyes” for Halloween. Gabrielle says the show’s decision to hire Julianne shows “NBC’s true feelings about the African American community and blackface.”
“Combining someone who so openly wore blackface (Hough) with someone who is black and regularly advocates on behalf of minorities (Union),” reads the filing, “should have at least alerted [NBC Entertainment chairman] Paul Telegdy that this could cause Union to experience some trepidation or concern about being unprotected from racially insensitive individuals while working as a judge on AGT.”
Julianne Hough hasn’t said much about the conflict between Gabrielle and AGT, although she said in a statement last year that she had a “wonderful time” working on the show and wanted to continue her “working relationship with NBC.”
Gabrielle Addresses Jimmy Fallon’s ‘SNL’ Blackface
Gabrielle also mentioned Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in her complaint. An SNL sketch from 2000 recently resurfaced in which Jimmy wore blackface to portray comedian Chris Rock. Jimmy later apologized for the sketch on his show, but Gabrielle says NBC has been “completely silent and unapologetic” in response to the incident.
“The reasons for NBC’s silence and failure to take remedial and/or disciplinary action against Fallon is that Fallon brings high television ratings to NBC, which in turn, generates revenue for NBC,” the complaint reads. “Time after time NBC has chosen corporate profits over doing the right thing and taking meaningful action to eradicate racism on its own network.”
Gabrielle went on to accuse NBC of remaining silent in the face of “racist behavior by its on-air talent, executives and other employees.” She named NBC stars who had appeared in blackface, “including, but not limited to Julianne Hough, Jimmy Fallon, Fred Armisen and Ted Danson (whom NBC hired multiple times even after he wore minstrel show blackface and used the ‘n-word’ publicly).”
How Did NBC Respond To Gabrielle’s Complaint?
Gabrielle’s complaint also reportedly claims that NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy attempted to “silence and intimidate” her into not revealing her experiences from the investigator. NBC has disputed this.
“The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue,” the network said in a statement, according to Page Six. “We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect. ”