The 'AGT' behind the scenes tell-all!
Gabrielle Union isn't shy about what made her time on America's Got Talent a less than favourable experience. The actress is opening up about some behaviour from her cast mates that caused many uncomfortable moments.
Union famously left set after allegations of racism came to light, and led to NBC getting involved in an investigation.
Union opened up about the incidents on her cover issue for Variety magazine, and shed some light on what really went down.
“The first person who allowed me to come on their talk show was Jay Leno,” Union started off.
“I’ve always held him in high regard, but I was not prepared for his joke. I gasped. I froze. Other things had already happened, but at this point, it was so wildly racist," she said.
"’We’ll delete it. We’ll edit it out,’” Union said production told her. “You cannot edit out what we just experienced. 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…” Union replied.
Along with Leno, Simon Cowell caused some tension for the actress as well, saying that he constantly smoked on set.
“Coming onto a set and you are literally met with the very definition of a toxic work environment and it’s being carried out by the most powerful person on the production,” Union said.
She then went on to share that his smoking caused her to become sick for two months, as the second hand smoke gave her bronchitis.
After confronting Cowell, Union said she was met with disregard, as she was made out to be the one that was in the wrong.
Not only was their friction with Cowell, but host Terry Crews also became a point of contention when he countered her statements, and minimized her feelings of racist dialogue.
Union said that while she was "disappointed" in Crews' response, she will still defend him.
“At the end of all this, my goal is real change — and not just on this show but for the larger parent company,” Union said of speaking out.
“It starts from the top down. My goal is to create the happiest, most high-functioning, inclusive, protected, and healthy example of a workplace," she said.
After a formal investigation from NBC and "AGT" production team, they claimed there was "no wrongdoing" on set.
“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 said, released to Deadline.
Union and Crews have since seemed to have made amends, and Crews has publicly apologized for not originally sticking up for Union on Twitter.