NBC’s America’s Got Talent is facing allegations of racism and sexism.
Earlier this week, Love B Scott reported that Gabrielle Union was fired as a judge on America’s Got Talent for speaking out against “problematic situations” on the show that seemed to be racially insensitive.
The website reports that sources at NBC shared, “The idea the network wants to ‘switch things up’ only applies to women and Black folks…She wouldn’t walk away from $12 million because she’s ‘busy.’ Based on weekly interactions on social media, by the time [the] AGT finale aired Gabrielle was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. Why not pick up someone’s option in extreme success?”
The source noted that Union and fellow AGT judge Julianne Hough, who was also let go, “were both way higher ranked/engaged [on social media]” than fellow judge Howie Mandel. The source also referenced Nick Cannon’s departure from the show in 2017 after he was “threatened with termination” after he used the N-word in his Showtime stand-up comedy special. Cannon described this as an attempt to “frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices.“ The source said, “Nick Cannon wasn’t crazy. He walked away from 8-figures over how [AGT] operates.”
The Love B Scott report was backed up by a later Variety report which cites several occasions in which Union challenged the show’s production staff over various insensitive jokes and performances. For instance, when Jay Leno was a participant on the show he made an insensitive joke invoking the stereotype of Asian people eating dog meat, a moment Union lobbied for production to cut from the show. Another instance included Union asking for a white male performer’s act to be cut from the show due to his hands appearing to be black during his impersonation of Beyoncé. Union expressed that the live audience “shouldn’t be subjected to offensive material.”
It is also reported that Union was given a note over a half dozen times that her frequent hair changes were “too Black,” according to Variety’s sources. It is said that both Union and Hough regularly received notes on hair and their appearance. However, in a statement to Variety, Hough denies this was her experience, saying that she had a “wonderful time” on the show and is happy to continue to work with NBC on her upcoming Christmas special with her brother Derek, Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
Photo: Getty Images
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