Gabrielle Union, who was newly hired for the 14th season of the NBC hit variety show, America’s Got Talent, will not be not returning for the upcoming 15th season. Her contract was not renewed after a season in which there were several issues that she was involved in, according to allegations reported by Variety last week.
Union’s contract was not renewed following her push for accountability when discrimination incidents took place on set, while higher-ups ignored or even turned a blind eye when it was demanded that actions were taken.
“Your hairstyle is ‘too black.'”
That was just one of the things that Union reportedly was told often by producers before she was dropped from the show. If you’re a Black woman, I know what you’re thinking: I’ve heard this before.
In another one of the incidents, sources alleged to Variety that comedian Jay Leno had joked about a painting featuring dogs, saying that they were something you’d find “on a menu at a Korean restaurant.” Union allegedly urged producers to report the quip on the basis that it was insensitive and had offended staffers of Asian backgrounds.
Hollywood insiders firmly agree that “America’s Got Talent” operates within a toxic culture. But, to no one’s surprise, the network claims that the “judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years.”
NBC and “America’s Got Talent” producer Fremantle said in a joint statement, “‘America’s Got Talent’ has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
Union has yet to publicly comment on the Variety report, but on Wednesday, she posted a message of gratitude on Twitter.
“So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU!” she wrote. “Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”
Union also received an outpouring of support from fellow celebs, including from actress Ellen Pompeo and radio personality Howard Stern, who co-host Abby Huntsman pointed out is influential enough for people to listen to what he says.
But Union is no stranger to speaking up.
The 47-year-old actress was a vocal leader at the start of the…