Gabrielle Union's AGT firing: SAG-AFTRA launches investigation into complaints of toxic workplace on NBC's 'America's Got Talent'
Union's time with AGT ended after she complained about inappropriate workplace behavior and some incidents that she witnessed while she was a judge on season 14 of the show.
After former 'America's Got Talent' judge Gabrielle Union's controversial exit, an investigation has been launched by SAG-AFTRA into the circumstances, Variety reported. In a statement, a spokesperson for the performers’ union told the news outlet, "While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now."
Actress Patricia Arquette had tweeted to the union responding to Gabrielle's tweet saying, "I’m just catching up on this. This is terrible. You should not be penalized for trying to have a workplace that honors the rule of law in the workplace." In another tweet, Arquette had called on the SAG AFTRA, "Where is the union? HELLO??? @sagaftra."
The union told Variety that they have reached out to Gabrielle's reps and that they take the matter very seriously. "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, as warranted. Our enforcement action is usually handled confidentially to protect the member involved, and we typically do not publicize these matters unless the member requests that we do so," they said.
Union's time with AGT ended after she complained about inappropriate workplace behavior and some incidents that she witnessed while she was a judge on season 14 of the show. One of those incidents allegedly included a racist joke from guest Jay Leno that was later edited out as well as a meeting where she was told she couldn't pick a 10-year-old black rapper and should go with someone "America can get behind", Vulture had reported. Gabrielle was also allegedly labeled as difficult after she asked contestants dressed in drag what their preferred pronouns were.
Gabrielle's issues were also allegedly because of Cowell's smoking inside the Pasadena theatre, Vulture reported. The dressing rooms were separated by pipes and fabric and the smoke would seep into Union's room. It is illegal for an employer to allow smoking in an enclosed workspace. Variety reported that the two judges were also under scrutiny for their appearances and received "excessive notes" on them. Gabrielle's hairstyle changes were allegedly "too black" for AGT standards.
In a statement NBC, Fremantle and Simon Cowell’s company Syco who are behind AGT, said that they were working with Gabrielle to sort out the issues. "We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. 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," reported Deadline.