Here's what's happening with Gabrielle Union and 'America's Got Talent'
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Grateful ❤❤❤ Happy Thanksgiving good people. To all the friends and family that have my back and all the friends and family I've never met who show love and support when everyone is looking and when no one is looking…All praise, gratitude and thankfulness
NBC issues another statement
Amid mounting pressure to make amends, NBC finally issued a statement Sunday specifically addressing its controversial decision to fire Union.
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” the statement read. “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.”
Hours after the network’s comments went public, Union returned to Twitter to share a post about what makes a “solid apology,” seeming to throw shade at NBC’s non-apology.
SAG-AFTRA announces investigation
The same day NBC released its statement, the Hollywood actors union SAG-AFTRA announced its own plans to investigate what went down behind the scenes of the reality series.
“We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement provided to The Times. “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.”
While the guild promised to continue to monitor the situation and “handle this issue accordingly,” it had “nothing to report now.”
Time’s Up launches petition
Advocacy group Time’s Up also has joined Team Union, releasing a statement and launching a petition calling on NBC to correct and own up to the “racist and inappropriate behavior” Union allegedly experienced during her brief “America’s Got Talent” stint.
“Gabrielle Union’s experience at ‘America’s Got Talent’ is exemplary of the double bind that black women face at work,” the Hollywood-led organization said in a statement provided to The Times. “Union’s story is deeply troubling on its own, but her experience is particularly problematic because it follows a pattern of NBCUniversal protecting the careers of powerful men at the expense of women who speak out.”
The petition, titled “Stand With Gabrielle Union and Demand Accountability From NBC,” urges network execs “to take Union’s allegations seriously and take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.”
“Union’s experience shows that NBCUniversal still has a lot of work to do to change its culture so discrimination, harassment and retaliation are no longer tolerated at the company,” the Time’s Up statement said. “Building a culture of safety and equity requires continuous, intentional work sustained over a long period of time — even when a company isn’t in the throes of a crisis.”
Multiple celebrities responded to Time’s Up’s call, including “Charlie’s Angels” mastermind Elizabeth Banks, “Desperate Housewives” alum Eva Longoria, TV actress Amber Tamblyn and producer Shonda Rhimes. All pledged their allegiance to Union and shared the petition Monday to their combined millions of social media followers.
“Thank you [Gabrielle Union] for speaking up about a toxic culture at @NBC‘s #AmericasGotTalent,” Banks tweeted, along with a link to the sign-up. “It’s time for NBC to take these allegations seriously.”
Howard Stern comes for Cowell
Howard Stern, a former “America’s Got Talent” judge, did not mince words when addressing Union’s departure on his radio show Monday, hurling accusations at the show’s mastermind.
“How is it that Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?” Stern said. “He sets it up that the men stay, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how talentless they are. But what he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious.”
Cowell, who also reportedly bothered Union with an alleged habit of smoking indoors, has so far remained silent on the scandal.
“Howie’s doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon?” Stern mused. “This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.”
NBC opens investigation
On Wednesday, NBC announced plans to launch a deeper investigation into “America’s Got Talent” after speaking with Union personally. According to a report by Variety, the two parties had a five-hour fact-finding meeting Tuesday, leading the network to pursue the matter further.
Union offered an update on Twitter Wednesday, reflecting on the conversation with a positive outlook.
“We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,” the actress wrote. “I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
NBC provided a similar take on the session.
“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” an NBC spokesperson told Variety. “While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”