Gabrielle Union couldn’t help but be astonished by the audacity that some network heads at NBC had while they were conducting an investigation into her complaints of racism and discrimination on the set of America’s Got Talent. During an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show on Tuesday, Gabrielle detailed some of the more horrific moments she endured while the investigation was still proceeding.
“He then threatens my agent,” she told Trevor. “‘Gabrielle better watch who she calls a racist’ in the middle of an investigation about racism and discrimination. This is what’s happening from the top of the company.” Gabrielle emphasizes that she knew from the very beginning that the set was going to be a toxic environment because of her boss Simon Cowell’s behaviour. On her very first day, she discovered that Simon smoked indoors.
“When your boss, the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities, believes law doesn’t apply to him,” she said. “And he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco. And no one cares he’s exposing employees to secondhand smoke — that’s day one, that’s within the first hour — what message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and lack of accountability?” She goes on to explain that the solution isn’t trying to work around a few “bad apples,” but rather, it would be “addressing and making those bad apples accountable.”
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“In front of and behind the camera, there has to be an increase in representation from across the board, from the top to the bottom — who gets to make the decisions of which projects to green light, who is a part of those development processes, who gets to determine budgets,” she noted. Gabrielle officially filed a harassment complaint earlier this month against NBC, Fremantle, Universal TV, Syco Entertainment, and Simon Cowell for discrimination and “racist and misogynistic conduct” while she was a judge on the show.
NBC responded to Gabrielle claims by saying: “The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue. We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.”