Gabrielle Union Shares Her Experience Participating in America's Got Talent's Investigation

Gabrielle Union is speaking out about her experience participating in an independent investigation surrounding her America’s Got Talent exit. Hear what she told Trevor Noah.
By Mike Vulpo Jun 17, 2020 7:09 PMTags
Related: Gabrielle Union: "AGT" Exit Investigation Results

Gabrielle Union is speaking out about NBC's investigation surrounding her America's Got Talent exit

In a new interview with Trevor Noah, the author and activist expressed doubts on how "independent" the exploration was.   

"I decided to participate in this investigation…Silly me, I thought independent was independent. But when NBC and Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it," Gabrielle alleged on Tuesday's episode of The Daily Show. "So throughout that investigation that I participated in, I talked about me being in there for five and a half hours. I'm about labor, for treating employees fairly. Nobody's asking for anything special…just treat people fairly. Have mechanisms in place for when things happen, there are consequences."

Back on May 27, NBC, Fremantle and Syco released their findings in a statement to E! News. 

"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 read. "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. 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."

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Stars React to Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent Firing

The companies also claimed they "immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union."

In Gabrielle's latest interview, the former judge recalled Simon Cowell smoking cigarettes inside of a building. It's something Gabrielle claims she had never seen before while working. 

"When your boss, the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities and who doesn't, doesn't believe that the law or rules apply to him and he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco and nobody cares about Simon Cowell exposing all of these employees to second hand smoke, that's day one. That's within the first hour. What message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue?" she shared.

During her appearance on The Daily Show, Gabrielle also claimed that during the investigation, the chairman of NBC Entertainment Paul Telegdy threatened her agent.

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"'Gabrielle better watch who she calls a racist.' In the middle of an investigation about racism and discrimination? This is what is happening at the top of the company," Gabrielle alleged. "As we're all wanting to be part of the solution and as we're all wanting change, we have to hold the people at the very top accountable."

In a previous statement to E! News, NBCUniversal stated, "The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue. We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect."

As America's Got Talent continues airing new episodes this season with judges Simon, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum, Gabrielle says she hopes to see changes not just within the NBC series but with industries across the country.

"We have been so committed as an industry—I mean, and every industry is facing the same thing—with going along to get along, trying to figure out how you work around the bad apples as opposed to addressing and making those bad apples accountable and their being real consequences," she shared. "In front of and behind the camera, there has to be an increase in representation from across the board, from the top to the bottom."

(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family)