Investigation Into Gabrielle Union’s ‘AGT’ Exit Found No Evidence Of Racial Bias
In a joint statement, NBC and “America’s Got Talent” producers Fremantle and Syco Entertainment announced that their investigation found no evidence of racial and gender bias on the set following Gabrielle Union’s termination from the reality show, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time,” the statement reads. “The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.”
The statement continued:
“NBC, Fremantle and Syco share Ms. Union’s dedication to diversity and inclusion in the industry. We continue to remain committed to having an inclusive environment for everyone associated with the show, and to upholding ‘AGT’ as one of the most diverse programs on television,” the statement concluded.
As previously reported, Union’s abrupt departure from the series garnered attention, and shortly after, reports surfaced that the actress had reported multiple instances of racism and sexism that she witnessed or experienced on set.
Union graced the cover of Variety for a feature which was also released Wednesday, in which she discussed her experience as a judge on the NBC talent show.
“I signed up for the experience of being a part of a show that hails itself as the biggest stage in the world. Super diverse, and one about giving people an opportunity to shine where they otherwise probably wouldn’t,” she told the publication. “What could go wrong?”
Union went on to speculate that she determined her fate on the series when she complained about Simon Cowell’s smoking onset during her first day.
“Coming onto a set and you are literally met with the very definition of a toxic work environment, and it’s being carried out by the most powerful person on the production,” she said of the experience.
While producers acknowledged her complaints, they told her that people had complained in the past and nothing changed.
“I couldn’t escape. I ended up staying sick for two months straight. It was a cold that lingered, and turned into bronchitis, because I couldn’t shake it. It impacted my voice, which affects my ability to do my job,” she said. “It was challenging to tend to my illness without being made to feel like I’m responsible for my own sickness. It put me in a position from day one where I felt othered. I felt isolated. I felt singled out as being difficult when I’m asking for basic laws to be followed. I want to come to work and be healthy and safe and listened to.”
She went on:
“If I can’t speak out with the privilege that I have, and the benefits that my husband and I have, what is the point of making it? What is the point of having a seat at the table and protecting your privilege when you’re not doing s— to help other people? It’s absolutely terrifying to speak truth to power about anything. I’m trying not to be terrified, and some days are better than others.”
We commend Gabby for speaking out and for those who have stepped up in support of her. Change won’t happen overnight, but each time someone raises their voices and speak out against injustice, we’re one step closer.