Published: Tue, December 03, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent Exit: Everything We Know

Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent Exit: Everything We Know

NBC and the guild that represents television performers said they are investigating Gabrielle Union's allegation that she was sacked as a judge on "America's Got Talent" because she complained of racism and other on-set issues.

While Howie is the show's longest serving judge, lasting from 2010 to present, Mel and Heidi's tenures only lasted six seasons before they were replaced by Union and Hough past year.

Fans were shocked to hear the women would not be back, and then a report came out detailing the toxic culture that Gabrielle allegedly faced on the set of the show.

Apparently one of the racially charged incidents Union reported was an attempted joke made backstage by Jay Leno during his guest judge visit: The former host of NBC's The Tonight Show made a crack about dogs being on the "menu at a Korean restaurant". "He sets it up that the men stay, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are", he raged. "Which is so obvious".

Jay - who guest starred in an episode which aired in April - said: 'I love Gabrielle Union, she's a great girl.

Though Jay Leno avoided directly commenting on the firings, he did express his respect for Union when seen after a set at The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California on Sunday night, calling her a 'great girl'. Variety also published follow-up reports about a toxic culture at the show.

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He continued in a tweet, "I am still waiting on a good answer to that question". Howard wasn't rattled by that, claiming, "Let's go on record as telling people that one million dogs are still eaten annually in South Korea, and if Gabrielle Union wants to affect positive change, maybe focus on the horrors of Korean dog farms and let the old irrelevant comic live in peace".

Representatives for Union and "America's Got Talent" have not responded to CNN's requests for comment. about the specific allegations.

However, in a statement to Variety, Hough denied that she had a negative experience working on the show.

"We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate", 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", the network said in a statement. "NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously", it said.

While Union has not spoken more on the developments, on December 1, she commented "This!"

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