Former AGT judge Julianne Hough is finally speaking out about her and Gabrielle Union’s departure from the show. However, her comments don’t get into specifics, and she doesn’t seem to be taking a side in the matter.
Julianne commented on the issue during an appearance on the Today show Thursday. As has been widely reported, Gabrielle and Julianne were exposed to a “toxic” culture on set. Gabrielle also reportedly spoke up about a racially insensitive joke made by guest judge Jay Leno.
Julianne Hough Responds To Gabrielle Union’s ‘AGT’ Exit
The former judge told Today (which is on NBC, where AGT airs) that it “excites” her to see that Gabrielle has been talking to the network. (Gabrielle tweeted on Wednesday that they had a “productive” meeting.)
“That is what we need — to start conversations — and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation,” Julianne said. “I’m really proud of NBC as well for also showing up and starting a narrative. That’s what’s gonna to change the workplace and the paradigm that we’ve been working in for many, many years. And it’s shifting, and I think that’s really exciting.”
As for whether Julianne and Gabrielle have talked since the news broke, Julianne said she’s “reached out,” and hoped they would be able to talk when she returns to L.A. However, she summed up the situation as follows:
“Life is crazy and sometimes you can’t control things and when obstacles come your way you have to be graceful about it and have integrity and I think that people with authenticity and integrity will create change.”
Why Isn’t Julianne Taking A Stance?
Julianne’s diplomatic comments are similar to those of AGT host Terry Crews on the matter, albeit much longer. She was even asked outright by Today whether she experienced anything like what has been reported, but sidestepped the question.
Considering Julianne is no longer on AGT, you’d think she might take more of a stance in support of Gabrielle, or offer some specifics about what went down on the show. However, it’s not that simple.
“I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” Julianne told Variety amidst negative reports about her experience on the show. The outlet pointed out that she has two upcoming projects with NBC — Holidays With the Houghs and Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
Julianne still has a working relationship with NBC, as she was on Today with her brother Derek to promote their holiday special. Although we don’t know for sure, she may have even signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevents her from speaking more candidly about her time on the show.
Meanwhile, Jay Leno responded to the controversy without commenting on his alleged joke. Instead, he told TMZ, “I love Gabrielle Union, she’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her, she’s really good.”
Even Gabrielle herself has been vague about the situation. She tweeted her thanks for everyone’s support, threw subtle shade at NBC for not apologizing, and shared that she had met with the network and express her “unfiltered truth.” But she hasn’t publicly confirmed the specifics of her experience.