America’s got drama!
Gabrielle Union spoke out for the first time since her controversial firing from America’s Got Talent last week in a tweet on Wednesday, thanking fans for their support and gratitude.
NBC announced on November 22 that Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough are not returning to the show for Season 15 next summer after just one year on the show.
According to Variety, Union and Hough allegedly complained about the show’s so-called “toxic behavior” including a racially insensitive joke from guest judge Jay Leno during filming and judge/show producer Simon Cowell smoking indoors on set, which is illegal in the state of California.
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 ❤
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) November 28, 2019
The biggest claims centred around a show producer allegedly telling Union her appearance was often “too black” for the show’s audience. It is important to note that while Variety and The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the Leno joke happened, they were unable to confirm Union’s claims of racial remarks about her appearance.
Hough disputed Union’s claims in a statement, saying she’s looking forward to working with NBC on other projects in the future.
“I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” she said. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
The reports are somewhat surprising given how long the show has been on the air. Nick Cannon voluntarily left the show in 2017 after NBC tried to reign in his jokes in his comedy special. The comedian and TV host later said in an interview that he felt he was being limited creatively and decided to leave the show.
NBC and production company Fremantle put out a joint statement on the matter surrounding Union’s claims over the weekend.
“America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” the statement read. “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.”
America’s Got Talent airs on NBC in America and streams on Netflix in the UK.