After Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough were fired from America’s Got Talent, it came out that Union may have been fired due to discriminatory policies. While Hough claimed that she didn’t leave because of a toxic environment, it came out that Union was criticized for looking “too black” and that she had objected to a racist joke made by guest judge Jay Leno.
Time’s Up called for an investigation, citing NBC’s history of not protecting their female employees.
“Union’s experience shows NBCUniversal still has a lot of work to do to change its culture so discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are no longer tolerated at the company.”
At the time, NBC released a statement saying that they were dedicated to getting to the bottom of this issue.
“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.”
On Wednesday, NBC released an additional statement, claiming that they had begun discussion a way forward with Union.
“The initial conversation was candid and productive. While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”
Union corroborated their story with a tweet.
“We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
According to reports, most of the issues can be traced back to judge and producer Simon Cowell for “overlording of the Fremantle and Cowell’s Syco produced series.”
We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) December 4, 2019
A source told Deadline “the ball is in NBC’s court to see if they can get Cowell to agree to make some changes to the way things are done on the show.”
Reports also suggest that “those complaints included about AGT‘s ‘toxic’ workplace culture and speaking out about ‘problematic,’ racially insensitive segments on the show.”
Cowell is in a major position of power at NBC and at America’s Got Talent specifically, so we’ll see if they are able to make strides against him to work toward a more progressive and inclusive work environment.