Over the past week, news has continued to emerge about Gabrielle Union’s departure from AGT. She and fellow judge Julianne Hough, who joined the show in Season 14, will not be returning next season.
According to various reports, the women were subjected to a “toxic” working environment in which their appearance was regularly criticized. Gabrielle’s choice to call out racial insensitivity on the show could have also been a factor in her firing.
Initially, AGT claimed Gabrielle and Julianne’s departure was the result of regular changes to the judging panel. However, following unflattering reports about the show’s backstage culture, NBC, Fremantle, and Syco have issued a new statement.
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” they said, according to Deadline. “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”
Gabrielle herself appeared to react to this statement on Twitter Sunday. She retweeted a post from freelance writer Joelle Monique, which outlines the requirements for a “solid apology.” Gabrielle added, “This! This! AND THIIISSSSSSS!!!!!!”
So what could Gabrielle Union be asking AGT to apologize for? According to reports, a lot of things.
To start, the actress apparently called out an offensive joke made by guest judge Jay Leno about Asian people eating dogs. She reportedly asked the show to report it to HR, which didn’t happen. Gabrielle was also allegedly told that her hairstyles were “too black” for the AGT audience.
Gabrielle may have also had a beef with Simon Cowell, who reportedly smoked indoors (which is against the law in California), despite Gabrielle being allergic to cigarette smoke. When she brought it up with the show, they reportedly didn’t do anything about it.
The actress has received much support on social media following these reports. She tweeted her thanks last Wednesday, writing, “So many tears, so much gratitude.” Gabrielle’s husband Dwyane Wade has also shown support, tweeting that he’s “waiting on a good answer” as to why she was fired.
We’ll see if anything comes of NBC apparently “working with” Gabrielle over the issue.