America’s Got Talent exit felt like ‘a public flogging’, says Gabrielle Union

Actor claimed she was fired from the reality show after complaining about a toxic work environment and racism on set

Annabel Nugent@annabelnugent
Tuesday 25 August 2020 10:30
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Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade praise daughter Zaya during GLAAD media awards

Gabrielle Union said her exit from America’s Got Talent was one of the hardest moments she’s faced in the industry.

The actor opened up about leaving the reality series when she spoke on a virtual panel for the American Black Film Festival on Sunday (23 August).

According to USA Today, Union said the nature of her departure from the show “was so surprising and so heartbreaking and so frustrating and so unnecessary”.

Union acted as a judge on the hit talent show’s 14th season alongside Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell and Julianne Hough.

Both Union and Hough were not invited back to participate in further seasons of the show.

Union, however, claimed she was fired due to her complaints about racist comments and a toxic work environment on the series.

In May, US broadcaster NBC released a statement announcing that the results of an internal investigation into Union’s exit found that there was “no racial bias”.

Union recalled the controversy surrounding her exit as “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”.

She continued, “But that whole process was really brutal and knowing that I brought my team into that, it just sucked.”

In the same interview, the Bring It On actor spoke about her production company and its aim to provide roles and stories “where I feel like the voices of marginalised folks have not been traditionally centred or amplified”.

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