A few months after being fired from America’s Got Talent under questionable circumstances (to put it mildly), former judge Gabrielle Union has filed a racial discrimination complaint against the show’s producers and network—so, FremantleMedia, Simon Cowell and his Syco studio, and NBCUniversal. This comes from Variety (via Yashar Ali on Twitter), which says she has also accused NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy of threatening her for speaking out against the racism she says she experienced on set. We’ve covered Union’s allegations about the toxicity of the America’s Got Talent set before, like Jay Leno telling a racist joke during a guest appearance, a hairdressing department that didn’t know how to work with Black hair, and general shittiness from Cowell (who is a judge and the show’s creator) like consistently smoking indoors even though it’s against the law in California.
Variety notes that complaints like this (it was filed with California’s Department Of Fair Employment And Housing) are “often precursors to lawsuits,” and Union is working with a man named Bryan Freedman who Variety refers to as a “power attorney”—so yeah, “precursor to lawsuit” seems like something to keep in mind. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has released a statement about Union’s complaint, saying it is “categorically untrue” that anyone involved with the show threatened her for trying to express her concerns, and it also says the company worked with an “outside investigator” who “found an overarching culture of diversity” on America’s Got Talent.
Freedman, the aforementioned power attorney, released a subsequent statement pointing out that the network failed to “substantively address” Union’s DFEH complaint” and suggesting that Union has proof that she was contacted by Telegdy.
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