NBC Launches Investigation into AGT after Gabrielle Union's Alleged Toxic Workplace Complaints

Gabrielle Union sat down with executives of NBC to discuss her issues against AGT. A source said the conversation was also heavily in part concerning Simon Cowell.

Gabrielle Union has met with NBC following the controversy surrounding her exit from”America’s Got Talent.” She raised some concerns which have now spawned a formal investigation. 

Gabrielle Union at the 2019 Met Gala in May. | Photo: Getty Images

Gabrielle Union at the 2019 Met Gala in May. | Photo: Getty Images

A PRODUCTIVE EXCHANGE

In light of Union’s complaint against the “toxic” environment of “America’s Got Talent,” its network sat down with the star to hash out the details. According to Union, it was a 5-hour meeting that proved to be “productive.”

“I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change,” she tweeted

Cowell appears to be at the center of the controversy according to Deadline which reported that the AGT creator was “a great part of the discussion” during Union’s meeting with NBC.  

An NBC spokesperson likewise told Entertainment Tonight that the “initial conversation was candid and productive.” The representative also revealed that further investigation will be done “to get a deeper understanding of the facts” and that the network is working with Union “to come to a positive solution.”

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

The facts as we know it so far is that Union was not renewed for a second season as judge of AGT along with Julianne Hough. We later learned she was fired and it may have something to do with the complaints she made about incidents in the show she deemed offensive. 

One of those incidents was Jay Leno’s appearance where he made a joke that stereotyped Koreans in a bad light. She also reportedly received several notes from network executives regarding her hairstyles said to be “too black.” Variety later reported that Union had described the AGT culture as “toxic.”  

Since news broke of Union’s departure from AGT, NBC and Freemantle had released two statements. The first one expressed their intention of taking Union’s issues seriously.

In a second statement, Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment joined them in saying they were working with Union to hear her out and take appropriate steps. 

Simon Cowell at the world premiere of "One Direction: This is Us" in August 2013. | Photo: Getty Images

Simon Cowell at the world premiere of "One Direction: This is Us" in August 2013. | Photo: Getty Images

HOW COWELL FIGURES IN ALL THESE

Cowell appears to be at the center of the controversy according to Deadline which reported that the AGT creator was “a great part of the discussion” during Union’s meeting with NBC.  

“The ball is in NBC’s court to see if they can get Cowell to agree to make some changes to the way things are done on the show,”a source told the publication.

Some celebrities also seemed to suggest Cowell’s major involvement in Union’s departure from AGT. Both Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern have expressed this sentiment. Osbourne claimed the show was a “boys club” while Stern alleged Cowell “orchestrated” women’s departure so that “the men stay.”

Cowell has not addressed these allegations.

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