There’s potentially another reason why Gabrielle Union is leaving America’s Got Talent — she was let go after she urged producers to report a racist joke, Variety reported on Wednesday, November 26. The Bring It On actress and Julianne Hough are both leaving the NBC show due to their contracts not being renewed, and it seems like it might be for the best.
According to the outlet, Jay Leno — who appeared as a guest judge this past season — made an insensitive remark about fellow judge Simon Cowell’s dogs and how they could be found “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” Ultimately, the joke landed flat and Gabrielle, 47, wanted human resources to know. However, several insiders told Variety that it never was actually brought to HR’s attention but was cut from the episode, which aired on August 6.
Unfortunately, the outlet reported that this wasn’t the first incident to happen at the show as sources claimed the environment was a “toxic culture.” NBC and series producer Fremantle denied any wrongdoing on set. “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” they told Us Weekly in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”
Meanwhile, Julianne, 31, insisted everything was just peachy after she joined the 14th season of the series. “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.”
Gabrielle, for her part, has not spoken out about the incident. The starlet has been posting photos of her daughter, Kaavia, 1 — whom she shares with her husband, Dwyane Wade — on Instagram. But on Friday, November 22, the same day the news broke that she would not be returning to AGT, she wrote a caption that seemed a bit shady. “Melanin Queens. Be you. Stand up for yourself and anyone being oppressed or beaten down,” she captioned a video of her little girl. “Stand tall. Speak up. Live loud and proud. Be fearless. Do not be silenced. We gotchu [sic] my loves, we gotchu [sic]. Lift us all up in the light of goodness, and please hold us there. Thank you guys for the perfect anthem @ciara @lala @lupitanyongo. City Girls @esterdean #MelaninQueen.”
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