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NBC plans “further investigation” into “America’s Got Talent”

Following a meeting with former America’s Got Talent judge and actor Gabrielle Union (pictured, foreground left), NBC has announced it will be making “further investigation” into the behind-the-scenes culture at the ...
December 5, 2019

Following a meeting with former America’s Got Talent judge and actor Gabrielle Union (pictured, foreground left), NBC has announced it will be making “further investigation” into the behind-the-scenes culture at the long-running unscripted competition series.

The meeting, which took place on Tuesday (Dec. 3), was set to address issues raised by Union, who was a judge in the most recent season of the series, following news that she and Julianne Hough (foreground right) would not be returning as judges for the series’ 15th season.

When that news broke via Variety on Nov. 22, the trade published a subsequent report in which sources alleged that there was a “toxic culture” behind the scenes. Among other instances of alleged racial insensitivity and tensions, sources told Variety that Union received notes regarding her hairstyles being “too black” for the America’s Got Talent audience.

Shortly afterward, SAG-AFTRA confirmed that it was investigating the matter. By Dec. 2, NBC and AGT producers Syco Entertainment and Fremantle released a joint statement. “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” it read. “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

The latest development has both the network and Union commenting on Tuesday’s meeting, with NBC saying: “The initial conversation was candid and productive. While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”

Realscreen understands that the meeting between the parties was led by third-party counsel.

For her part, Union tweeted: “We had a lengthy five-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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