Simon Cowell is dealing with the controversy surrounding Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent exit. The executive producer and fellow judge on the NBC talent competition series has not broken his silence on the fallout regarding both Union and Julianne Hough's exit from the show after one season, following reports of the "toxic culture" behind the scenes. Reports have detailed how the actress had expressed concern in multiple instances to NBC's Human Resources before she was asked not to return for Season 15.
While the former American Idol judge has not spoken publicly on the matter, an insider recently revealed friends of the creator of the Got Talent franchise hope the scandal will lead him to examine his actions.
"Simon created AGT and no one gets in his way, but people close to him are hopeful this is a wake-up call to him and NBC that a change needs to happen," the source told Entertainment Tonight in a report posted Tuesday.
The insider noted Cowelll has a "track record of firing mostly women for his own personal reasons or for feeling like they are too old."
Aside from Union and Hough, the series' female judges throughout its past 14 seasons include Brandy Norwood, Sharon Osbourne, Mel B and Heidi Klum. Male judges have included Piers Morgan, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Cowell.
Union broke her silence on the controversy last week, thanking fans and public figures who had expressed their support after reports started to surface.
"So many tears, so much attitude. THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone... you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever [red heart]," she wrote Wednesday, Nov. 27.
The actress' ousting recently sparked a SAG-AFTRA investigation. NBC, Freemantle and Syco are also reportedly retaining outside counsel to assist them in learning more about the facts of the controversy, starting with a discussion with Union herself set to happen this week.0comments
A source told the outlet the actress is willing to help bring change to the show's culture, though she is not willing to return after her ousting.
"Although Gabrielle is done with AGT, she wants to work with NBC to help improve the culture surrounding the show and studio," the insider told the outlet. "Gabrielle has always been an activist and wants to make positive change so nothing like this happens again."