Gabrielle Union is reportedly suing America's Got Talent's Simon Cowell, as well as NBC, for "racist actions." According to TV Line, Union filed her suit against Cowell, Fremantle Productions, NBC Universal and Syco. The nature of the suit references allegations of racial insensitivity, as well as sexism, on the set of the reality competition series. The outlet noted that it had reached to all the parties involved for comment, but did not state if any had responded.
Union and Julianne Hough joined America's Got Talent for the show's 14th season, but then it was announced that they would not be returning for Season 15. This was certainly a surprise to fans and viewers, that the pair would only be on the show for one season, but then the accusations of the show having a "toxic culture" emerged. NBC had a third-party investigation completed, based on Union's claims, but that resulted no wrongdoing being found.
1. BREAKING: After months of attempting to negotiate with NBC Universal on their cultural/workplace issues, @itsgabrielleu has filed a complaint against NBC Universal, @FremantleUS, @SimonCowell, and @sycoJune 4, 2020
In a joint statement from NBC, FreemantleMedia and Syco, the stated that "no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance." It also stated that "neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time." However, a stated that the investigation "highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved."
Following the joint statement, Union’s lawyer Bryan Freedman issued a statement as well, slamming the network for saying that they support the Black Lives Matter movement when Union does not feel that that they supported her at the time she voiced her concerns. "When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of radically offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not 'stand' with her in 'outrage at acts of racism,'" Freedman stated. He then bashed NBC for not caring "enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved."
Freedman went on to say that NBC "stood against" Union, and "directed its 'outrage'" at her for "whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced while working for NBC on America’s Got Talent." Freedman stated that "in sharp contrast to NBC’s recent statement on race," NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy "actually threatened Ms. Union in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show." Freedman concluded is statement by saying that "there is no place for this type of racial bullying in the workplace," and that "it is going to take more than a Tweet from NBC to demonstrate that NBC intends to create an environment free from racism."