In a shocking move, NBC announced that America’s Got Talent judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough’s contracts were not renewed and they would not be returning for the next season of the hit competition show. While Hough claimed there was no bad blood, it broke that Union was often criticized for looking and acting “too black” and that she objected to a racist joke made by guest judge Jay Leno.
In the wake of this news, a huge backlash broke out online, with many people backing up Union and objecting to this potentially shady firing.
Five days after the controversy broke, NBC and America’s Got Talent producers Fremantle and Syco released a statement saying:
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. 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.”
After the news broke, Union posted a message of thankfulness on Twitter after the outpouring of support but didn’t address the controversy directly.
“So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever ❤”
Following NBC’s statement, she retweeted film and TV critic Joelle’ Monique’s tweet about apologies with the comment “This! This! AND THIIIISSSSSSSS!!!”
“A solid apology comes in three parts.
Sincerely admit wrong doing directly to the offended party.
Be twice as loud correcting your mistake as you were making the mistake.
Lay out steps to correct your behavior in the future.
Anything less is covering your own ass.”
This! This! AND THIIISSSSSSS!!!!!! https://t.co/RCrtKtkQ4L
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) December 1, 2019
No matter how this issue plays out, Union is receiving a ton of support. Her husband, Dwayne Wade wrote a series of tweets explaining how proud he was of her.
“‘Men lie, Women lie, numbers don’t’ Over this past year I’ve been approached by many people saying that my wife
@itsgabrielleu is the main reason they’ve started watching #AGT or that they love her insight and sincerity on the show.”
“So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? Iam still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.”
“As proud as i were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT— Iam even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.”
“So ? to you @itsgabrielleu on not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter and for kicking ass while you were on that platform. Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world‼️”
“Workplace cultures will continue to be toxic until there is unity and solidarity among all women. If you go for self in these moments you undermine the work we are out here trying to do. Obviously this network feels like they can operate like this and it’s okay.”
So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? Iam still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 27, 2019