Investigation Into Gabrielle Union's 'AGT' Dismissal Finds No Racial Bias
Outside investigator conducted more than 30 interviews over six monthsby Tony Maglio
“America’s Got Talent” producers and NBC have released a statement upon the completion of an outside investigation into Gabrielle Union’s dismissal from the series. The talent competition’s former judge accused the show and its producers of creating a racist and generally “toxic” culture.
“Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time,” the statement read, in part. “The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.”
The investigation did find “some areas in which reporting processes could be improved,” the NBC, Fremantle and Syco statement conceded.
Also Read: Terry Crews Apologizes to Gabrielle Union for Defending 'America's Got Talent'
Below is the full statement from NBC, Fremantle and Syco.
We have a shared passion to make “America’s Got Talent” a positive, inclusive and diverse show that is open to all individuals from any country or background. We are proud and grateful that our contestants and audiences support our ongoing mission, which is represented in the incredible people who participate in the show each year. We have heard from contestants and talent alike that their experience on “AGT” has had a positive impact on their lives. When we heard Ms. Union had concerns about her time on the show, we took them extremely seriously.
NBC, Fremantle and Syco immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union. While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.
Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time. The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.
NBC, Fremantle and Syco share Ms. Union’s dedication to diversity and inclusion in the industry. We continue to remain committed to having an inclusive environment for everyone associated with the show, and to upholding “AGT” as one of the most diverse programs on television.
Also Read: Former 'AGT' Judge Heidi Klum Weighs in on Flap Over Gabrielle Union Ouster
Union spoke to Variety for a cover story that was published on Wednesday, hence the timing of the NBC, Fremantle and Syco statement. A person familiar with the investigation told TheWrap that while Union has asked the outside investigator to follow up on a few issues, those specific items would not materially change the findings.
The investigation began in November. Since it launched, Union has met with NBC and producers to discuss her accusations.
Read the Variety cover story here.
Also Read: Howard Stern Calls 'AGT' the 'Ultimate Boys Club,' Blames Simon Cowell for Gabrielle Union Ouster
Union’s “Got Talent” contract was not renewed following several behind-the-scenes incidents and what producers described as “difficult” behavior. According to Vulture, which first reported the rift, Union complained about judge Simon Cowell smoking indoors, a remark during taping by guest judge Jay Leno she deemed to be a racist that did not make it to air, and the misgendering of contestants.
In addition, Vulture reported that Union had supported a 10-year-old African American rapper before being told that the show needed “an act America can get behind.” Union also said that producers complained some of her hairstyles were “too black.”
Fellow judge Julianne Hough was let go at the same time as Union. New judge Sofia Vergara and the returning Heidi Klum have replaced Hough and Union.
'America's Got Talent': 10 Best Golden Buzzer Performances (Videos)
Mandy Harvey The deaf singer inspired fans and the judges, and earned Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer when she performed an original song on the show in the summer of 2017.
Darci Lynne The 12-year-old ventriloquist got Mel B.'s Golden Buzzer when she sang a song with her puppet. At the beginning of her performance, she said her goal was to "keep ventriloquism alive."
Courtney Hadwin The nervous 13-year-old went on stage but quickly wowed audiences when she started singing "Hard to Handle," with many likening her to Janis Joplin. Simon Cowell's reaction was priceless, and she ended up scoring Howie Mandel's Golden Buzzer.
Dorothy Williams The 90-year-old lady treated the judges and "AGT" fans to a little dance that took many by surprise. In the end, Nick Cannon ran over the judges table to give her the Golden Buzzer.
Angelica Hale The 9-year-old Angelica Hale stunned the audiences with her own rendition of Alicia Keys' "Girl On Fire." The judges couldn't stop smiling and in the end, guest judge Chris Hardwick pressed the Golden Buzzer.
Craig Lewis Band The singing duo sang a cover of Mary J. Blige's "I'm Goin' Down," scoring the Golden Buzzer from guest judge Michael Bublé.
Light Balance One of the most epic performances to ever hit the "AGT" stage, Light Balance performed a stunning dance and light show to amazing songs -- to the point where Tyra Banks couldn't stop herself from hitting the Golden Buzzer.
Grace VanderWaal Then 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal scored the Golden Buzzer in 2016 when she wowed everyone with her ukulele and singing skills. She even performed an original song. She has since released her own EP and has performed at Madison Square Garden and various other benefit concerts.
Angel City Chorale We dare you to watch this performance and try not to get goosebumps. Olivia Munn hit the Golden Buzzer after barely getting through the act without tearing up.
Christian Guardino The 16-year-old got a standing ovation after his singing performance, and was awarded the Golden Buzzer by Howie Mandel.