After Gabrielle Union’s Firing From America’s Got Talent, Ellen Pompeo & Ariana Grande Speak Out

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC.
Gabrielle Union was reportedly fired from America’s Got Talent on NBC after only one season and, according to Variety the show may have a problem with a “toxic culture.”
After Leno’s on-camera joke marginalizing Asian culture, Union reportedly urged the show’s producers to report it to human resources.  Leno saw a painting in judge Simon Cowell’s office, which featured dogs, and remarked that it looked like what would be “on the menu at a Korean restaurant,” according to a source at Variety. The joke was cut from the on-air show, which aired on August 6.
In another incident, Union was reportedly subject to racist criticism about her appearance — specifically, that her hair was “too black.” Variety’s source said that she had received such criticism over “half a dozen times.” These incidents were only a few recounted by sources to Variety recounted.
“‘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,” NBC told Variety in a statement. Refinery29 has reached out to Union’s representatives for a statement. So far, Union has only tweeted her thanks for the support following this story breaking.
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Along with Union, co-host Julianne Hough was also released from the show. Hough also only worked for one season while Howie Mandel and Terry Crews are expected to return to the show next season. Hough also reportedly received negative feedback about her “hair, makeup and wardrobe.” Hough denied this in a statement to Variety. “I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I loved working with the cast, crew and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” she said.
Union’s husband, Dwyane Wade, tweeted a question:
Following the revelations, Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo spoke out in a series of tweets.
Ariana Grande also voiced support for Union in a tweet reply to Pompeo.
Activist organization Time’s Up shared support for Union, as did Lin Manuel-Miranda.
Former AGT host Nick Cannon left the show in 2017, claiming that he was “silence[d] and control[led]” when unnamed people on the show did not like a joke he made on a comedy special.
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