Gabrielle Union Is Reportedly Suing NBC and Simon Cowell For "Racist Actions" at America's Got Talent
"NBC directed its ‘outrage’ at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experiences while working for NBC on America’s Got Talent.”
Gabrielle Union has reportedly filed a legal complaint against NBC Universal, America’s Got Talent production company Fremantle, and Simon Cowell’s production company Syco. According to reporter Yashar Ali, she will be filing a separate lawsuit against Cowell himself.
On Thursday Ali shared a statement from Union’s attorney Bryan Freedman on Twitter.
“When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of racially offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not ‘stand’ with her in ‘outrage at acts of racism,’” the statement began. “Instead, NBC did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved. Rather, NBC stood against her and directed its ‘outrage’ at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experiences while working for NBC on America’s Got Talent.”
The statement went on to allege that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy threatened Union “in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show.”
In a recent interview with Variety, Union opened up about her experience as a judge on America’s Got Talent, which included witnessing a racist joke from Jay Leno that was not properly addressed by the production team.
"You cannot edit out what we just experienced," she told the publication of the incident. "There is not an edit button in my brain or in my soul. To experience this kind of racism at my job and there be nothing done about it, no discipline, no companywide email, no reminder of what is appropriate in the workplace?”
Union, along with fellow judge Julianne Hough, was reportedly given “excessive notes” regarding her appearance while on the show. She was also reportedly told, repeatedly, that her hairstyles were “too black.”
After a single season on the show, Union was fired — reportedly because she aired her concerns regarding the workplace culture.