The actor made the complaint to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleging that she was targeted for ”her refusal to remain silent in the face of a toxic culture at [America’s Got Talent] that included racist jokes, racist performances, sexual orientation discrimination, and excessive focus on female judges’ appearances, including race-related comments".
Union left the popular reality series in November 2019 after just one season on the judging panel.
NBCUniversal, the parent company of Universal Television and NBC, responded to the complaint on Thursday with a statement which read: “The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms Union is categorically untrue.”
“We took Ms Union‘s concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show,” the statement continued.
“NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.”
Allegations in the complaint include Simon Cowell refusing to smoke outside despite requests from Union, an act on the series performing in “blackface hands” despite objections raised by Union and Cowell, racist comments on set, and a producer saying Union’s hair was “too wild” and needed to be “toned down”.
Union reported these alleged incidents to several NBC executives and America’s Got Talent producers, but the companies allegedly failed to follow up, causing Union to feel as though she “was the only one policing the show against racism,” according to the complaint.
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