Concerns that America’s Got Talent has a toxic behind the scenes didn’t surprise me at all. This is the show that replaces it’s female judges every other year for younger ones and yet keeps it’s two 60 something male hosts from the very start.
According to Variety, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough reportedly left the NBC show after expressing concern over “offensive” incidents that took place on the set.
One alleged incident occurred during a taping with Jay Leno back in April.
According to several witnesses, Leno made a racist joke about a painting of Simon Cowell. The painting featured Simon and his dogs and Leno said the painting looked like something “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” Union, Hough, and several other staffers were present for the joke and found it to be offensive.
Gabrielle tried to have the joke reported to HR and brought it to the attention of an executive. But the situation was swept under the rug and “never escalated to HR.” The line was cut from the aired episode.
Variety also reports that Gabrielle and Julianne were both given “excessive notes on their physical appearance,” which “impacted her morale and led to tensions,” particularly for Hough. Gabrielle was reportedly told that her hairstyles were “too black for viewers.”
Radio show host B. Scott reported over the weekend that Union was fired for reporting the incidents. An NBC insider is claiming that it is common for the show to “rotate hosts in and out with an option to return.”
Gabrielle has yet to release a statement about the report. Julianne denies the reports and said that she had a wonderful experience on the show. She said that she is “happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”