Gabrielle Union speaks out about being fired from AGT for the first time
At a female inclusivity and empowerment panel at the launch of her new collection with New York & Company, Gabrielle Union, former “America’s Got Talent” judge, used the event to speak out and warn other black women interested in the entertainment business, almost a month after being fired by NBC Network for her complaints about the show’s offensive culture.
“Don’t... [do] the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid. Don’t allow them to call you angry when someone else saying the same thing is called passionate... It’s scary, it’s terrifying. It’s a solid chance you may lose your job. Perhaps I speak from experience,” she warned.
While she didn’t name the series, Union’s comments about the situation were the first she’d made since her departure.
"I get that when you are the chip in that cookie, especially in those board rooms or, you know, in those offices, that's a lot," she told. "You've got 87 jobs and you get paid to do one and you're also trying to navigate office politics and you don't want to be the one that has to say everything -- but you're the one in there. Find those allies and keep the door open."
According to Variety, Julianna Hough, as well as Gabrielle Union were both heavily criticized for their makeup, hairstyles, and wardrobe. Union says that she was told that she frequently changed hairstyles and was “too black” for the audience of “AGT.”
Union also expressed her concerns about quite a few racially insensitive situations that she witnessed, including a joke by Jay Leno, during his appearance as a guest judge at the beginning of Season 14. She reportedly urged producers to report the joke. It was eventually cut from the episode before it aired.
Union met with NBC, and according to her, they “had a lengthy 5-hour ... productive meeting.” NBC is currently investigating reports of racial insensitivity on the show.