After Gabrielle Union’s Firing From America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell & Sharon Osbourne Speak Out

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC.
Update, December 3, 2019: Simon Cowell's production company Syco Entertainment also released a statement regarding the situation, reports Fortune. "We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture.” 
“We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns," the statement continued. "Following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”
A number of America's Got Talent alum have spoken up about the matter, including former judges Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne. Stern was quick to pinpoint Cowell as the source of the latest crop of issues on the show. "He sets it up that the men stay," the radio personality pointed out on his SiriusXM show. "Howie’s [Mandel] doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon? … This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club."
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Osbourne, on the other hand, had nothing but positive things to say about her experience on the competition show. "When I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on," she said on Monday's episode of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk. "The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network."
Update, December 1, 2019: NBC Entertainment and Fremantle, the company that produces America’s Got Talent, have issued a statement in response to Gabrielle Union's exit from the show and AGT's line-up, Vulture reports.
America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show," the statement reads. "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.”
This article was originally published on November 29, 2019.
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.
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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.
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.
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And Debra Messing, whose show Will & Grace airs on NBC, jumped in as well.
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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