After just one season on NBC’s America’s Got Talent (AGT), Gabrielle Union was fired from her position as a judge on the Simon Cowell created competition. On top of the bad press NBC has received for that move, they are now dealing with a labor issue involving potential racial and discriminatory acts in the firing of Union.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, also known as SAG-AFTRA, one of the largest unions in the country, is officially investigating the release of Gabrielle Union. They released the following statement, “We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously. We immediately reached out to Ms. Union’s representatives when these reports came to light. It is our practice to work closely with members who reach out to us and their representatives in instances like this, as that usually affords the best protection and best resolution for the affected member. For certain matters, our investigation and enforcement needs to happen independently and we are prepared to handle this issue accordingly.”
Ms. Union was labeled as “difficult” by Simon Cowell and the AGT production team after disputes over Cowell smoking on set and an issue regarding complaints that certain episodes should not air due to potential racist or sexist comments being made as well as comments by guest judge Jay Leno. It became more and more clear over time that Cowell, who has all the power over the hit TV show, and Union were butting heads. This eventually led to her release.
NBC in a statement said they have “nothing further to say beyond the statements they had already made.” Meanwhile, NBC and the producers said that they were “working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”
The SAG-AFTRA investigation is ongoing.