Celebs Slam NBC for Firing Gabrielle Union over Alleged Racism on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Gabrielle Union1
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Hollywood stars took to social media over the Thanksgiving holiday to show their solidarity with actress Gabrielle Union and slam NBC after the network reportedly fired her as a judge from America’s Got Talent. 

Union, 47, was reportedly labeled “difficult” by fellow judges and the show’s founder Simon Cowell.

According to Vulture, Union raised concerns about a toxic and racist culture after receiving constant critiques about her appearance that included being told that her hairstyles were “too black” for the show’s viewers.

Some of the incidents that upset Union allegedly included an anti-Asian joke by comedian Jay Leno that did not make the final cut, a white contestant dressing up as Beyoncé with back gloves, and a comment from fellow judge Howie Mandel that a professional South African choir should sing one of the songs from The Lion King. Union was also irritated by Cowell’s habit of smoking indoors, despite it being against the law in California.

However, Union quickly received the backing of fellow celebrities, including pop star Ariana Grande, actress Ellen Pompeo, actor Lin Manuel-Miranda, ESPN host Jemele Hill, and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.

NBC was even called out by an employee of their own network, actress Debra Messing, who responded to Pompeo’s comments by decrying the “disgusting behavior” behind the scenes.

“This is disgusting behavior from a network that has been my professional home for decades,” Messing wrote. “Yes, women become “difficult,” when their insistence on a respectful and professional working environment, is ignored. Addressing a hostile work environment is inconvenient when there is a huge money-making machine that is involved.”

Union’s exit from the show comes just eight months after she was hired for the role alongside dancer Julianne Hough. Both Cowell and Mandel have so far refused to comment on the allegations, but sources close to them have said that she and Hough were merely “rotated out” to make way for fresh talent.

In a statement to People magazine, a spokesperson for NBC and Fremantle said the network takes such complaints seriously.

“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,” the statement read.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

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