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Gabrielle Union fired from “America’s Got Talent” after reporting toxic culture

The actress complained about racist behavior.

Gabrielle Union / Instagram

Gabrielle Union will not be returning as a judge on “America’s Got Talent.” According to Variety, the actress reported racially insensitive jokes and was ultimately let go from her position, along with fellow judge Julianne Hough.

Back in April, former late night host Jay Leno reportedly made a joke about Koreans eating dog meat while appearing as a guest judge on the NBC variety show. Several people, including Union, found the joke offensive and urged that it be reported to human resources. The joke was cut from the episode before it aired, but Variety reports that human resources were not involved.

According to the outlet, sources say the offensive joke was just one of the many racially insensitive events that occurred on the “America’s Got Talent” set. One source told Variety that Union’s hair styles were frequently criticized for being “too black.”

“So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!?” former NBA player and Union’s husband, Dwyane Wade, tweeted. “But if anyone knows [Gabrielle Union] or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.”

“As proud as i were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT—I am even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US,” he continued.

Several media professionals have come forward to show their support for Union, including “Grey’s Anatomy” Ellen Pompeo and film producer Nancy Wang Yuen.

“It’s unfortunate that [NBC] the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it... has not changed their practices or culture,” Pompeo tweeted. “I support [Gabrielle Union’s] commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage.”

Union has spoken out since departing from NBC, tweeting, “So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU!”

“Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone... you got me up off the ground. Humbles and thankful, forever,” she continued.

NBC and the series production company Fremantle released a joint statement in response to Union’s firing to Variety.

“‘America’s Got Talent’ has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” it 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. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

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