Reports state that we are likely to see former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union sue NBC after she filed a complaint against the show’s producer for racially offensive conduct and sexism.
Union says that the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, Paul Telegdy, threatened her to dissuade her from filing the complaint with the Department of Fair Employment. The attempt to silence her didn’t work, as Union, through her agent and other unnamed sources, called out racism on the set, like being told her hairstyles were “too black.”
After the end of her star role in the TV series Being Mary Jane, Union tweeted that she was “so excited” about joining the America’s Got Talent season 14 cast with Terry Crews and Julianne Hough. Union previously sued BET for $3 Million and later settled for an undisclosed sum for breach of contract in regards to Being Mary Jane.
Now, as America’s Got Talent begins their new season, Union talks about how toxic the show was. In an interview with Variety, she brought up a variety of concerns about the show, and said she “felt singled out as being difficult.”
One of her complaints was about producer and judge, Simon Cowell’s smoking, which made her sick-she is allergic to cigarette smoke. “Coming onto a set and you are literally met with the very definition of a toxic work environment, and it’s being carried out by the most powerful person on the production,” she said.
“I ended up staying sick for two months straight,” Union said. “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.”
For his part, Cowell said through a spokesman, that he changed his habits as soon as he heard about what had happened with Union and that he appreciated the feedback.
Union also took the show to task for how she was treated concerning her hair, inappropriate jokes, and even some contestants’ behavior.
Union’s attorney Bryan Freedman chastised NBC for failing to “promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaint.” He also stated that the network needed to do more to stop this type of “racial bullying” in the workplace.
As for NBC, executives stated that they planned to “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.”