Gabrielle Union says her meeting with NBC over her America’s Got Talent exit lasted five hours and was “productive.”
“We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,” the L.A.’s Finest actor tweeted on Wednesday. “I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
A representative for NBC added, “The initial conversation was candid and productive. While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”
The meeting followed an outcry over the departure of Union, who was dismissed after one season on the NBC show alongside fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough. A report emerged decrying a “toxic culture” on the competition show. Union had reportedly asked for offensive jokes made by show guest Jay Leno to be reported to Human Resources, but higher-ups never reported the joke. Union was also reportedly told that some of her hairstyles were “too black.”
At the time, NBC and producer Fremantle said in a statement, “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host lineup has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
Since, SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into Union’s firing. Fremantle and Syco confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they were working with Union’s reps to investigate and ameliorate the situation. “Our enforcement action is usually handled confidentially to protect the member involved, and we typically do not publicize these matters unless the member requests that we do so,” they said, in part, in a statement.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of her dismissal from the show, Union retweeted a journalist’s take on what constitutes a “solid apology’ in including “sincerely admit wrong doing directly to the offended party.” Her husband Dwayne Wade was more explicit in his tweets after the news broke, writing, “When i got the news that my wife was being fired — my first question was obviously why!? I am still waiting on a good answer to that question.” He added, “As proud as I [was] of her being selected as a judge on #AGT — I am even more proud of her [for] standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.”
Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen also released a statement in support of Union following the dismissal, saying, “Gabrielle Union’s experience at America’s Got Talent is exemplary of the double bind that black women face at work. Not only did Union reportedly endure and witness racist and inappropriate behavior — including racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance — but it also appears she was punished for speaking out: the company labeled her as ‘difficult’ before ousting her from the show altogether.”
Former AGT judge Howard Stern, who was on the show four seasons, also weighed in, pinning the blame on AGT creator-producer Simon Cowell. “He sets it up that the men stay no matter how ugly [the men] are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are,” he said said of the show’s judges. “He replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. … Howie’s [Mandel] doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon? … This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.