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October 27, 2020
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America’s Got Talent judge settles over show exit

America's Got Talent judge settles over show exit
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Gabrielle UnionImage copyright
PA Media

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Union was a judge on the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent

Actress Gabrielle Union has reached “an amicable resolution” with US TV network NBC over her exit from America’s Got Talent after one season as a judge.

Union, who left in 2019, claimed there was a toxic work environment on the show and alleged she was sacked for speaking out against racism and sexism.

She also complained about fellow judge Simon Cowell allegedly smoking on set.

In a joint statement, representatives for Union and NBC said she had raised “important concerns”.

NBC Entertainment, the statement continued, “remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds can be treated with respect.”

Union appeared in such films as Bring It On and Bad Boys II and can currently be seen in LA’s Finest, a TV spin-off from the Bad Boys franchise.

After leaving America’s Got Talent it was alleged she witnessed “racist and inappropriate behaviour”, was labelled as “difficult” and was “punished for speaking out”.

In an interview with Variety, Union said she had been “literally met with the very definition of a toxic work environment… carried out by the most powerful person on the production”.

According to that interview, Union “hesitantly” raised the issue of Cowell’s smoking with producers but was told that “effectively nothing was going to change”.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Cowell is a judge on both America’s Got Talent and its UK equivalent

Union also alleged she was discriminated against because of her hair and that she had been “shocked” by a “wildly racist” remark made by guest star Jay Leno about Korean food.

“I’ve always held him in high regard, but I was not prepared for his joke,” she said of the former Tonight show host.

In June Union filed a harassment complaint against America’s Got Talent with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Responding to the claims, an NBCUniversal spokesman said an external investigation had found an “overarching culture of diversity” on America’s Got Talent.

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