We will not be standing for this. On Friday, news broke that Gabrielle Union was fired from AGT, otherwise known as America’s Got Talent alongside her co-star, Julianne Hough. Now we’re finding out that the reason for these ladies’ departure was not an issue of scheduling or salary—turns out that Union and Hough were victims of a “toxic” workplace environment at the NBC show. We’re mad, but not surprised.
According to a new report issued by Variety, it appears that Union, 47, had issued several complaints regarding racist comments made on set for the show in the past—including a “joke” guest judge Jay Leno made about Asians eating dogs. As if these disgusting comments weren’t enough to send you into an overflowing rage (me, currently), just wait until you hear this. Union and Hough, 31, were also subjected to “excessive notes” regarding their physical appearance. Gabrielle Union was reportedly criticized for hairstyles that were “too black.” Are we really still doing this in the year 2019?
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for NBC and their production company, Fremantle, responded to Variety’s claims: “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.” Mhm. Sure, spokesperson.
Twitter isn’t having it, either. Users—from celebrities to commonfolk—have weighed in on this upsetting situation. Gabrielle’s husband, Dwayne Wade, immediately stepped in with a message of support and defense for his wife. “So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!?” he wrote in a Tweet. “Iam still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.”
He continued to applaud her for her efforts to call out racism, despite the consequences for her job. “So to you @itsgabrielleu on not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter and for kicking ass while you were on that platform. Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world,” he added in a following Tweet.
Others, including transgender activist and model Indya Moore and writer Molly Lambert, have added to an echoing sea of support for Gabrielle.
Here at STYLECASTER, we add on to this response in applauding the actress for standing up for what’s right.