It was announced last week that Union and Julianne Hough would not be returning to AGT next season and days later Variety published a report claiming there was a “toxic culture” on the set of AGT.
According to a new report, published by Vulture, Union was “perceived as ‘difficult’ by Simon Cowell and his team of producers” after voicing concerns about “perceived racist incidents, Cowell’s habit of smoking indoors, and attempts to keep the show from misgendering contestants.
In a joint statement, NBC and production company Fremantle said that AGT has a “history of inclusivity.”
“America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” NBC and Fremantle said. “The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
Union’s husband Dwayne Wade was the first to support his wife after news broke that she wouldn’t be returning to the show.
“‘Men lie, Women lie, numbers don’t’ Over this past year I’ve been approached by many people saying that my wife @itsgabrielleu is the main reason they’ve started watching #AGT or that they love her insight and sincerity on the show,” he began.
“So when i got the news that my wife was being fired — my first question was obviously why!? I am still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture,” Wade continued.
“As proud as i were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT— I am even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.
Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo joined the conversation, saying she supports Union’s “commitment to speaking up to injustice.”
“It’s unfortunate that @nbc the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it… has not changed their practices or culture. I support @itsgabrielleu commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage,” Pompeo began.
“This is a teaching moment..It’s important..white girls I’m talking to you..whether you truly understand what racial injustice is or not..that you stand with your sisters on the front lines. Don’t cut side deals & don’t not get involved because it isn’t your issue..because it is,” she continued.
“Workplace cultures will continue to be toxic until there is unity and solidarity among all women. If you go for self in these moments you undermine the work we are out here trying to do. Obviously this network feels like they can operate like this and it’s okay,” Pompeo sent in a follow-up tweet.
“With that said GIRLS….instead of wack jugglers and messy Simon Cowell watch @ReeseW and Jennifer Anniston in The Morning Show!! Soooo much better. Hard to believe these networks are still getting away with this. Our work continues @itsgabrielleu,” Pompeo concluded.
Ariana Grande quoted one of Pompeo’s tweets, writing: “thank you for this @EllenPompeo. be better @nbc. we’re with you @itsgabrielleu.”
Former One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush quoted Yashar Ali’s tweet thread about the alleged incidents that happened at AGT during Union’s time working on the show.
“Read this thread. Ask why it’s hard for women in this industry. The challenge the GD system. @itsgabrielleu you have ALWAYS been a real one. An advocate. A teller of truths. Thank you for sticking to your guns. You are an inspiration and I LOVE ya,” Bush wrote,
Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “Team @itsgabrielleu, always.”
Time’s Up tweeted: “Thank you @itsgabrielleu for speaking up for what’s right.”
“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,” Patricia Arquette wrote.
HBO star Robin Thede tweeted: “Happy thanksgiving to only @itsgabrielleu.”
Comedian DL Hughley wrote, “It’s weird how @NBC stuck with @megynkelly longer than it did @itsgabrielleu!”
Insecure star Natasha Rothwell said, “You are a gurddurm fool to bet against @itsgabrielleu. A FOOL. *blasts Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair whilsts tossing a lit match over my shoulder into a classic muscle car*”
Single Parents star Jake Choi tweeted, “Just wanna say: I’m thankful for @itsgabrielleu. #standwithGabU.”
“Thinking of @itsgabrielleeu … she shouldn’t have to deal with this b.s.,” Monica Lewinsky tweeted.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing tweeted, “Thank you for this @EllenPompeo. This is disgusting behaviour from a network that has been my professional home for decades. Yes, women become ‘difficult,’ when their insistence on a respectful and professional working environment, is ignored. Addressing a hostile work environment is inconvenient when there is a huge money making machine that is involved.”
“It is cowardice, greed, and protection of that status quo revealed. Being ‘hands off,’ is inexcusable and reflects a laissez faire attitude toward systemic racism and sexism. @itsgabrielleu,” Messing wrote.
Union tweeted a message of gratitude on Wednesday night to thank the people who have supported her.
“So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever,” Union wrote.