Former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union has filed a new harassment complaint against NBC and executive producer Simon Cowell after she says that the chief of NBC entertainment, Paul Telegdy, tried to keep her accusations about racism on set a secret.
According to Page Six, Union’s legal team filed the complaint this week with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and they mentioned some of NBC’s biggest stars to prove that there is a culture at the network that is not kind to people of color. They went so far as to describe the peacock network as “a snake pit of racial offenses.”
— Hal Katkov (@haroldkatkov) June 4, 2020
In her filing, Union accused NBC of hiring her former AGT co-star Julianne Hough despite her “widely publicized scandal for personally appearing in blackface.”
“Combining someone who so openly wore blackface (Hough) with someone who is black and regularly advocates on behalf of minorities (Union) should have at least alerted Telegdy that this could cause Union to experience some trepidation or concern about being unprotected from racially insensitive individuals while working as a judge on AGT,” read the complaint. “Telegdy’s decision to hire Hough has since proven to be a reflection of NBC’s true feelings about the African American community and blackface.”
Union echoed the accusations she made last fall against Cowell, claiming that he routinely smoked cigarettes inside on the set despite her complaints to the network. The Bring It On star says this is proof that the network has “different rules for white males.”
Last fall, Union accused NBC and AGT producers Syco and Freemantle of firing her as a judge after just one season when she complained about racism on the set. It was concluded in an external report that Union’s complaints against NBC and AGT producers were not a factor in the decision to let her go.
— Variety (@Variety) June 4, 2020
Instead, investigators cited a decrease in ratings, lack of chemistry among judges, and Union’s performance as the reason NBC decided to part ways with the actress.
However, in Union’s latest complaint, she says that NBC and AGT producers tried to silence her and cover up the racial discrimination on set, and that stands in “stark contrast to the current worldwide efforts to eradicate racism through the Black Lives Matter protests and movement.”
Union went after her former network, claiming that if they were so concerned about eradicating racism then they wouldn’t continue to remain silent when “confronted with racist behavior by its on-air talent, executives, and other employees.” Instead, Union says they should be taking swift disciplinary action.
“Make no mistake, NBC is part of the problem. NBC’s current attitude towards racism can be deduced from its defense of those individuals who have appeared in blackface, including, but not limited to Julianne Hough, Jimmy Fallon, Fred Armisen and Ted Danson (whom NBC hired multiple times even after he wore minstrel show blackface and used the ‘n-word’ publicly).”
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) June 1, 2020
Union believes that NBC is choosing corporate profits over doing the right thing and taking meaningful action to eradicate racism at the network.
In a statement, NBC Universal said that Union’s allegation that anyone threatened her are “categorically untrue.” They said that they took Gabrielle Union’s concerns seriously, and they engaged an outside investigator who ultimately found “an overarching culture of diversity on the show.”