In late May, NBC announced the findings of an independent investigation into Gabrielle Union’s allegations of racism on set. Apparently, they found no wrongdoing. But now Gabrielle Union is suing America’s Got Talent’s Simon Cowell for racism along with the network. It is not the time for NBC to play.
The former judge, 47, was fired from the NBC talent competition in November 2019 after speaking up about racist comments over her hair and other contestants’ acts, along with allegations of sexism on set toward her and ex-fellow judge, Julianne Hough, 31, who was fired alongside Gabrielle. After the host went public about her experience, NBC announced in December that they would allow a third-party investigation into Gabrielle’s claims. Yet despite the Bring It On alum’s extensive allegations of racist and unhealthy behavior on the show—which includes the claim that co-judge Simon Cowell smoked on set—the network found that there was no kind of discrimination based on “race nor gender.”
NBC’s parent company, Fremantle Productions and Syco, issued the statement of their findings in May. They concluded that “no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time.”
Gabrielle’s legal team issued a statement in response, expressing that NBC “did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved. Rather, NBC stood against her and directed its ‘outrage’ at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced while working for NBC on America’s Got Talent.”
Bryan Freedman, Gabrielle’s lawyer, adds: “In sharp contrast to NBC’s recent statement on race, what was truly an ‘outrage’ was the fact that Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, actually threatened Ms. Union in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show. There is no place for this type of racial bullying in the workplace, and it is going to take more than a Tweet from NBC to demonstrate that NBC intends to create an environment free from racism.”
According to New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali, Gabrielle Union filed her official complaint with NBC on Thursday, June 4, and is expecting to file a separate suit against Simon Cowell soon.