Gabrielle Union breaks silence on 'America's Got Talent' exit

Carla Harmon
May 29, 2020

Following past claims of racism and toxicity on the set of America's Got Talent, Gabrielle Union is dishing on all things AGT, including her former co-judge's use of blackface back in 2013.

Gabrielle Union has spoken in detail about her experiences on America's Got Talent for the first time since she was controversially axed from the talent show last November. "I had to look at myself and say, 'Do you want to keep it easy?"

When it was announced that Union, along with fellow judge Julianne Hough, had been dismissed from the show last September, it began a conversation. Union was to leave the show after allegations came out about her speaking against racism.

While recalling some of the more distressing situations during her time at AGT, Gabrielle described an instance in which a white contestant wore black gloves to portray a black performer.

Now, thanks to Variety, Union has a new cover story that lets her break her silence on the situation and speak at length about what she endured.

"I'm on a diet but it doesn't feel like it now because the food I eat is really healthy and I don't find it tedious. I took it seriously". But on Wednesday (May 27), she made a decision to break her silence in an exclusive interview with Variety. "There is not an edit button in my brain or in my soul", she said.

Union, who sufferers with smoke allergies, detailed how Cowell's smoking indoors in the workplace led to her becoming ill, despite addressing the issue with producers. A spokesperson for Cowell, when asked for comment, told Variety, "When he was directly informed of the smoking complaint during the first couple of days of the season, he immediately changed his behavior and the issue was never raised again".

Gabrielle Union has opened up about her experience working on America's Got Talent a year ago leading to her high profile firing, as NBC's investigation results were published today claiming "no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks".

"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 statement read, in part. "While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved".

"You can not edit out what we just experienced".

That moment would be one of many in which Union says she unsuccessfully raised issues about the physical and emotional toxicity at "AGT", produced by FremantleMedia and Cowell's Syco Entertainment, which has aired for 15 seasons on NBC.

Union, 47, was also reportedly not a fan of a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno on set.

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