NBC & ‘America’s Got Talent’ Producers Announce Results From Investigation Into Gabrielle Union’s Exit

Nellie Andreeva

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NBC, Fremantle and Syco on Wednesday morning issued a statement about the results from an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the firing of former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union. The investigation was originally expected to wrap by end of January.

“Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time,” the statement said. “The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.”

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Union departed the long-running talent competition in controversial fashion last November after one season. During her time on AGT, she reportedly had voiced concerns about a “toxic” culture on the show, including her hairstyle choices being called “too black.”

“While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved,” the statement also said.

Union in December sat down with NBC to discuss her departure and the events that led to it. The goal of the meeting was to improve the culture and atmosphere on the competition series.

America’s Got Talent this week premiered its latest season with new judge Sofia Vergara. Here is the full statement by NBC and the series’ producers FremanteMedia and creator/exec producer/star Simon Cowell’s Syco:

We have a shared passion to make America’s Got Talent a positive, inclusive and diverse show that is open to all individuals from any country or background. We are proud and grateful that our contestants and audiences support our ongoing mission, which is represented in the incredible people who participate in the show each year. We have heard from contestants and talent alike that their experience on AGT has had a positive impact on their lives. When we heard Ms. Union had concerns about her time on the show, we took them extremely seriously.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union. While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.

Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time. The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco share Ms. Union’s dedication to diversity and inclusion in the industry. We continue to remain committed to having an inclusive environment for everyone associated with the show, and to upholding AGT as one of the most diverse programs on television.

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