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Breaking Down What Happened

Gabriel Union
Gabriel Union | Instagram

Gabrielle Union and her dramatic exit from America's Got Talent has been one of the most engrossing bits of celebrity gossip of the year, bringing up important conversations about race and privilege. Union is featured in the latest issue of Variety, and she got candid about her firing and the disturbing behavior that she witness and was subjected to behind the scenes at America's Got Talent.

Union explained that as she's in her 40s, she is feeling more confident in her own skin and isn't going to be pushed around.

"There were so many spaces in this industry where I had to compartmentalize myself to feel like I was worthy of work. In my 40s, I embraced myself exactly as I am. I wanted to create projects and be a part of things, to have personal and professional relationships that brought me peace, joy, grace and allowed for compassion."

Dealing With Drama On Set

Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union | Instagram

When Union initially took the job at America's Got Talent because she felt like it would be a good fit.

"I signed up for the experience of being a part of a show that hails itself as the biggest stage in the world. Super diverse, and one about giving people an opportunity to shine where they otherwise probably wouldn’t... What could go wrong?"

Since the controversy and the internal investigation that ensued, Union has taken the high road and not spoken publicly about the incident. Ultimately, Union just wants to be a force for change.

"At the end of all this, my goal is real change — and not just on this show but for the larger parent company. It starts from the top down. My goal is to create the happiest, most high-functioning, inclusive, protected and healthy example of a workplace."

Hough's Former Instance Of Blackface

Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union | Instagram

Union was fired alongside Julianne Hough, and Union admitted that Hough's past incident wearing blackface probably should have been a red flag. Hough earned some controversy back in 2013 when she dressed up as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black for Halloween, complete with blackface.

Union said:

"I’m a part of a show that hired one of my co-workers who had an unfortunate incident doing blackface. I’d like to trust her at her word that she learned her lesson, and has educated herself amid the consequences she faced and is hopefully a better person. But you would think that perhaps the show and NBC might be more conscientious in exposing that, and it would be taken seriously. I took it seriously."

Union Isn't Standing Down

Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union | Instagram

Union realizes that because of her wealth and career, she is in a position of privilege, and she wants to use her profile to help other people who deal with sexism and racism at work.

"If I can’t speak out with the privilege that I have, and the benefits that my husband and I have, what is the point of making it? What is the point of having a seat at the table and protecting your privilege when you’re not doing s--t to help other people? It’s absolutely terrifying to speak truth to power about anything. I’m trying not to be terrified, and some days are better than others."

Union admits that it isn't always easy to make a difference, but she is determined to do the work.

"I know it’s scary to stick your neck out, and get an ounce of power and have to share it. It’s not what we’re taught, but you don’t have to sacrifice your soul to do it. There’s another way, and I’m committed to finding it."

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