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'America's Got Talent' Fires Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough

Gettyimages | Gregg DeGuire
By Natalie Hunter

Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough replaced Mel B and Heidi Klum as judges on this past season of 'America's Got Talent. They were on the show with judges Howie Mendell and founder Simon Cowell and host Tyra Banks.

Tyra Banks will be replaced by Terry Crews next season. Banks isn't the only one who won't be back. Union and Hough won't be returning as judges for the next season 'America's Got Talent.' While it hasn't been confirmed, their departure doesn't seem like their decision.

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Giphy | Sony Pictures Television

NBC sources reported that Gabrielle Union wouldn't be returning after she spoke out against the racism and sexism that she witnessed during her time on 'AGT.' Simon Cowell was the one who supposedly had her fired.

"[Gabrielle’s] contract was not renewed after being the #1 talent on the show, NBC and network TV. She set the record for her Golden Buzzer. They only replace the women and blacks at Simon’s whim," the sources reported on behalf of Gabrielle Union's dismissal.

Gettyimages | Frazer Harrison

She wouldn’t walk away from $12 million because she’s ‘busy.’ Based on weekly interactions on social media, by the time [the] AGT finale aired Gabrielle was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. Why not pick up someone’s option in extreme success?”

“Social media engagement is the new measuring stick for talent and Simon isn’t on social media. Julianne and Gabrielle were both way higher ranked/engaged than Howie [Mandel],” the source continued. “The idea the network wants to ‘switch things up’ only applies to women and Black folks.”

Giphy | America's Got Talent

Simon Cowell didn't necessarily deny these claims. He seems to be fully behind the notion of switching out the panel.

“It wasn’t like it wasn’t working. Everyone who’s been on the show over the years, judge or host, has done a brilliant job. It’s just one of those shows where I think occasionally they just like to rotate the panel,” Cowell told USA Today.

Cowell spoke out about he believed Union was a great fit for the show and that he really enjoyed working with her.

Giphy | Dancing with the Stars

“With Gabrielle, we spent a couple of hours talking and I really connected with her. She wants to do the show for the right reasons. She’s very interested in the process for discovering talent,” claimed Cowell.

When it comes to Julianne Hough, the evidence also points very strongly towards her being fired. Cowell recalls an interaction they had early on.

“I asked her, ‘Have you ever worked for one day on a job where you thought you’d made a big mistake?'” Cowell recalled.

“She said, ‘Yes. This job.’ I asked why. She said, ‘You. I didn’t get your sense of humor and then when the producers explained it, I understood it was you kidding around,'” he continued.

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