Heidi Klum Clarified Her Statements on Gabrielle Union and America's Got Talent
Earlier this week, model-turned-TV judge Heidi Klum said that she had an "amazing experience" on America's Got Talent, which made headlines in 2019 after Gabrielle Union came forward with her experiences with "racial insensitivity" on the show. The news, which came via Variety, came after the announcement that Union would not return for the show's 15th season.
"I've only had an amazing experience," Klum said at an event with the Television Critics Association. "I can’t speak for her. I didn't experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I've never seen anything that was weird or hurtful."
When critics came forward, saying that Klum glossed over the entire situation when she said that any tension between the judges was just for entertainment purposes. It wasn't, she insisted, meant to be hurtful.
Today, Klum clarified her intention, saying that she was only sharing her experience and never meant to call Union's comments into question.
"Recently, a reporter asked me to share my thoughts about Gabrielle Union's experiences while working as a judge on America’s Got Talent. I told the reporter that I had not experienced similar issues while I was a judge on the show — my experience was a positive one. I can only speak of my own truth, and by no means is that meant to negate or question Gabrielle’s truth," Klum told People.
"I am aware that my experience may not be the same as Gabrielle's. What I can tell you is that I am a fierce advocate for all people, no matter their race, age, religion, gender, or sexuality. Everyone should be treated equally and with utmost respect," she continued. "Personally, I have experienced very hurtful things while being married to a man of color and having three beautiful children with him. While everyone's challenges are different, I want nothing more than for a just world and for people to be kinder to one another."
While Klum left America's Got Talent in May 2019, she is a judge on a new iteration of the show, America’s Got Talent: The Champions. After Union met with the show's production team, all parties released a joint statement, saying that things were still being discussed, but that everyone was moving in the right direction.
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture," read a statement from NBC and production companies Syco Entertainment and Fremantle. "We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate."