By Lynette Rice
May 27, 2020 at 01:19 PM EDT
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Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic
type
  • TV Show
network
  • NBC
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An investigation spurred by Gabrielle Union's complaints that America's Got Talent is a "toxic" workplace found that the talent show did not behave insensitively toward the former judge, who was removed from the judges panel along with Julianne Hough last November.

Union, 47, alleged she and Hough, 31, often received “excessive notes” on their appearance and that her hairstyles were “too black” for AGT’s audience. She also expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge, including a joke guest judge Jay Leno made that was later edited out of the episode. She and Union only served one season on the show and have since been replaced by returning judge Heidi Klum and new panelist Sofia Vergara.

“Through the investigation process, it has been revealed 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,” according to a statement from NBC and Fremantle, which produces the talent show. “The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.”

Union also reportedly complained to producers after a white male contestant auditioned with an act where he portrayed people of color like Beyoncé and emerged with black hands. Celebrities like Debra Messing and former AGT judge Howard Stern showed support for Union.

In December, Union tweeted that she had a “lengthy 5-hour” meeting with NBC, Fremantle and creator/judge Simon Cowell's company Syco Entertainment about her firing from the show. She called it “productive” and said she was “able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.” More recently, she talked with Variety about her experience and how she hopes to inspire "real change, and not just on this show but for the larger parent company."

"It starts from the top down,” she says. “My goal is to create the happiest, most high-functioning, inclusive, protected and healthy example of a workplace.”

Here is the full statement:

"We have a shared passion to make America’s Got Talent a positive, inclusive and diverse show that is open to all individuals from any country or background. We are proud and grateful that our contestants and audiences support our ongoing mission, which is represented in the incredible people who participate in the show each year. We have heard from contestants and talent alike that their experience on AGT has had a positive impact on their lives. When we heard Ms. Union had concerns about her time on the show, we took them extremely seriously.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco 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.

Through the investigation process, it has been revealed 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 investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.

Through the investigation process, it has been revealed 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 investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco share Ms. Union’s dedication to diversity and inclusion in the industry. We continue to remain committed to having an inclusive environment for everyone associated with the show, and to upholding AGT as one of the most diverse programs on television."

America's Got Talent returned for its 15th season on Tuesday.

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America's Got Talent

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 14
rating
genre
network
  • NBC

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