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Heidi Klum Supports AGT Amid Controversy Surrounding Gabrielle Union's Exit

Mary Scott
Jan 18, 2020
12:40 P.M.

Heidi Klum has shown support for "America’s Got Talent" amid reports that Gabrielle Union was fired for speaking out against racial insensitivity and toxic work culture on the show. Klum’s comments have sparked heated reactions from fans online.

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Back in November, news broke that Union would not be returning to her role as an AGT judge. Things got messier after an explosive Variety report alleged cases of racial discrimination.

Heidi Klum at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2017 in California | Photo: Getty Images

Heidi Klum at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2017 in California | Photo: Getty Images

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Union was allegedly unpopular with the show producers because she often spoke against any action with a hint of racism. The actress was also reportedly singled out for her appearance with alleged complaints that her hairstyles were "too black" for the show’s audience.

Fans seemed to believe that should have made her more sympathetic to the plight of Union, who is also black.

Fans and celebrities, including Union’s husband Dwyane Wade, reacted to the scandal at the time. Most people stood with Union while admonishing NBC and show creator Simon Cowell to do better.

Gabrielle Union at the Live Unforgettable Dinner Series on Nov. 30, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois | Photo: Getty Images

Gabrielle Union at the Live Unforgettable Dinner Series on Nov. 30, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois | Photo: Getty Images

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Klum, 46, is the latest celebrity to lend her voice to the situation. The German-American model turned TV host was a former AGT judge and currently sits in the judge’s chair on the show’s spin-off, "America’s Got Talent: Champions."

"I've only had an amazing experience," she told E! News at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "I can't speak for [Gabrielle]. I didn't experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect."

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Klum added:

"I've never seen anything that was weird or hurtful… Of course, there's always this cat-and-dog fight, but this is fun. You say something silly. For me, being on television, I want to entertain people. I want people to have a good time. I want people to go away from their life for two hours and just have fun and enjoy."

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Per InStyle, Klum even went ahead to defend the show against allegations of racist jokes being made on set. She cited a joke Cowell would make about the stereotypical cattiness of women and said: "But, like relax! It’s a joke."

Klum’s remarks, according to MadameNoire, somewhat attempt to discredit Union’s experiences as a black woman on the show. Social media users seem to feel the same way as well if their response to the report is anything to go by.

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"Ok honey [Heidi Klum] listen...just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it didn't happen to [Gabrielle Union] ok," one Twitter user lashed out. "You should have just stayed quiet!"

"[Heidi Klum] downplaying racism is toxic, and as the mother of bi-racial children, I’m surprised by your perspective," another echoed. "Yes, your experience was different, your (sic) not Black. [Gabrielle Union] we stand in solidarity with you."

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Klum was previously married to the black British musician, Seal, with whom she shares three biological children. Fans seemed to believe that should have made her more sympathetic to the plight of Union, who is also black.

Meanwhile, Paul Telegdy, the president of NBC Entertainment, has promised that the network will be adopting new practices if an internal investigation reveals any discrepancies related to the allegations previously leveled.

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