If you follow NBC talent competition America’s Got Talent, then you are aware that actress and producer Gabrielle Union is not coming back as a judge on the next season.
Union was just two months into her tenure as a judge on the competition when she found herself seated in a tense meeting with Simon Cowell. The music mogul and reality-show star had a request for her: If she had any problems with the production or the show, come to him directly. “Don’t talk to NBC.”
“Union did have concerns, and she had brought them up regularly ever since she joined the show in February; they included perceived racist incidents, Cowell’s habit of smoking indoors, and attempts to keep the show from misgendering contestants, according to multiple sources involved in the production of America’s Got Talent,” Vulture reports.
Union had also been addressing her complaints largely with NBC executives, including those who oversaw the show. “They would respond by saying they would look into her concerns, and then, according to sources, nothing would happen.”
They further reveal that by the time Union and Cowell met, Union was deeply frustrated and concerned about the workplace environment at America’s Got Talent. His instructions that she not talk to her employers made Union feel as if he were trying to cover up major issues, according to sources familiar with her thinking.
In a tweet thread, Union’s husband Wade is also wondering why Union was fired from AGT, but confirmed that his wife is an advocate for community and culture.
“So when I got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!?” Wade wrote, adding he’s “still waiting on a good answer to that question.”
In another tweet, Wade added that he’s “proud” of Union for “standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.”
The basketball star concluded by writing a sweet message to his wife, applauding her for “not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter” while on the competition show.
Their baby girl, Kaavia James Union Wade, recently turned one. “Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world!!”
Meanwhile, the incident has created a backlash for AGT on social media.