Gabrielle Union and NBC say they have reached an "amicable resolution" after nearly a year of a public back-and-forth dispute over her firing from "America's Got Talent," which she said was retaliation for coming forward with allegations of racism and a toxic work environment on set.
“NBC Entertainment appreciates the important concerns raised by Gabrielle Union and remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect," Union and the network said in a joint statement to the Associated Press. Both sides declined further comment.
Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough exited the NBC competition show after one season and, in November, Variety reported on a "toxic culture" at the show that included racist jokes and excessive focus on female judges' appearances, including race-related comments.
According to Variety, issues raised include comments on Union's and Hough's appearances. Variety quoted four unnamed sources as saying Union was told several times that her hairstyles were "too black" for the show. Hough reportedly was "consistently" given critiques on her appearance, though she said in a statement to the outlet that she had a "wonderful time" on the "AGT" set.
Union gave detailed accounts of the issues in a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that she filed in June, saying she received criticism of her hair from producers that were rooted in racism.
“Union, a black woman, was singled out due to her physical appearance and discriminated against by NBC due to the fact that her hair did not fit within the white image that NBC apparently sought to convey to the audience,” the complaint stated, adding that a network executive and a show producer “informed Union’s manager that her hair was ‘too wild’ and that it needed to be ‘toned down.’”
NBC said in May that outside investigators brought in by the network and producers found that Union’s allegations had no basis and no bearing on the decision to drop her as a judge.
NBC said the investigation “found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.”
Union continued to speak out about the aftermath of her firing. At a virtual panel last month for the American Black Film Festival, she shared that the experience was "so surprising and so heartbreaking and so frustrating and so unnecessary" and called it "probably the hardest part" of her more than 25-year career in entertainment.
Union said other difficult aspects of the "AGT" situation were "it feeling like such a public flogging and just standing in my truth and standing on the side of employee rights and knowing there's a better way of doing business.
"But that whole process was really brutal and knowing that I brought my team into that, it just sucked," she said.
30/09/2020 11:11 pm