Terry Crews apologizes to Gabrielle Union for 'invalidating' her America's Got Talent experience
On Friday, Crews — who hosts the NBC talent competition show — tweeted an apology to Union for comments he made in regards to the former judge’s exit from AGT. In a series of tweets he acknowledged that he spoke from his own personal point of view “without first taking into consideration someone else’s experience” during an interview with Today earlier in the week in which he stated that he’d never experienced any racism on the NBC show.
“I told @KevinHart4real a while ago, he needed 2 ‘acknowledge the pain of other people,'” wrote Crews on social media. “Right now I have to do the same thing. I want to apologize for the comments I made. I realize there are a lot of Black women hurt and let down by what I said and also by what I didn’t say.” He goes to add that he hears, respects, and understands their perspective, and then directly apologizes to Union. “I want you to know it was never my intention to invalidate your experience— but that is what I did,” he wrote, tagging her in the comment on Twitter. “I apologize. You have been through a lot in this business, and with that I empathize with the struggle toward fairness and equality in the workplace.”
Back in November, news broke that Union and Julianne Hough — who both served as judges on the 14th season of AGT — would not be returning for the show’s upcoming 15th season. Subsequently, it was revealed by Variety and Vulture that while working on the series, Union had expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge — including a joke guest judge Jay Leno allegedly made and a racially insensitive audition in which a white male impersonated black celebrities. When Union expressed her discomfort with these situations, she says she was told they would be edited out of the episode later. Additionally, Union was reported to have complained about Simon Cowell‘s illegal smoking on set and that she and Hough received “excessive notes” about their appearance, in particular, that some of Union’s hairstyles were “too black” for the show’s audience.
In response to the claims, NBC and Fremantle issued a statement that read: “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.”
In December, Union revealed that she met with executives and producers. “We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,” she wrote on Twitter. “I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.” Many celebrities came out in support of Union, including Debra Messing, Ellen Pompeo, and co-judge Hough.
And now, Crews is doing the same. “You are a role model to the entire black community and In my desire to be professionally neutral as your co-worker, I should have at the very least understood you just needed my support,” he finished his string of tweets.
Union has not yet publicly responded to Crews’ apology.
America's Got Talent