Julianne Hough responds to Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent exit
Hough, who exited the reality talent show as a judge along with Union, was asked about the situation on the network’s third hour of TODAY while on with brother Derek Hough to promote their holiday special, Holidays with the Houghs, which is also airing on NBC.
This week, Union tweeted, “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.”
In response, Hough said on TODAY, “When I see that comment there, that excites me so much because that is what we need to start conversations and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation. I’m really proud of NBC, as well, for also showing up and starting a narrative and that’s what’s going to change the work place and the paradigm that we’ve been working in for many, many years and it’s shifting and I think that’s really exciting.”
Union’s husband Dwyane Wade stated on Twitter that his wife had been fired from America’s Got Talent. Articles were also published by Variety and Vulture regarding a number of alleged incidents that contributed to her exit. They reportedly involved Union raising concerns over a racist joke from guest judge Jay Leno, Simon Cowell‘s illegal smoking on set, the crew telling Union some of her hairstyles were “too black” for the show, and one contestant performing a Beyoncé impression while donning black-painted hands.
In an earlier statement, a rep for NBC agreed that the “initial conversation” with Union was “candid and productive.” They continued, “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.”
Hough’s first statement on the matter to Variety denied reports that she experienced criticism on her hair on the show, while also promoting Holiday with the Houghs. “I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew and producers,” the dancer and actress said at the time. “I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”
Hough now says she “reached out” to Union but hopes to actually speak with her upon her return to Los Angeles.
She added, “Life is crazy and sometimes you can’t control things and when obstacles come your way you have to be graceful about it and have integrity and I think that people with authenticity and integrity will create change.”