As you all may remember, after serving as a judge on season 14 of “America’s Got Talent,” it was revealed that Gabrielle Union was not asked to return to the show for the following season. It was later revealed that the working environment for the show was described as toxic as Gabrielle shared her different experiences while working on the show. Some of those experiences including racial insensitivity, and even an alleged comment from production about her hair being “too black.”
Now in an all-new interview with Variety, Gabrielle is opening up about her experience on the show and the struggles she had to face, and how she is working to make Hollywood more inclusive. In response to the interview, Fremantle, Syco, and NBC issued a joint statement about the results from their investigation following her departure.
In the statement, they said their ongoing investigation has thus far concluded that “no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time.”
The statement also stated that after Gabrielle expressed her concerns, they “immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union. While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.”
As previously reported, Gabrielle Union detailed an episode where Jay Leno made a joke about a painting of Simon Cowell and his dogs, saying the animals looked like food items at a Korean restaurant. The joke was looked at as a stereotype about Asian people eating dog meat. In the end, that portion of the show was edited out once the show aired.
Gabrielle also detailed a time where she remained sick for two months due to Simon Cowell’s smoking onset. Gabby said she was hesitant to address the issue with producers who acknowledged that complaints had been made about Cowell’s smoking in the past.
Gabby said, “I couldn’t escape. I ended up staying sick for two months straight. It was a cold that lingered and turned into bronchitis because I couldn’t shake it. It impacted my voice, which affects my ability to do my job.”
She continued, “It was challenging to tend to my illness without being made to feel like I’m responsible for my own sickness. It put me in a position from day one where I felt othered. I felt isolated. I felt singled out as being difficult when I’m asking for basic laws to be followed. I want to come to work and be healthy and safe and listened to.”
Nonetheless, she is standing up for what she feels is right. “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,” she said.
“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.”
Check out the full interview here.
Want tea directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or click here to join!
TSR STAFF: Jade Ashley @Jade_Ashley94