‘America’s Got Talent’: Gabrielle Union Responds to NBC Changes After Her Intimidation Claim
Production of NBC shows are about to start. The network announced there will be changes to keep its employees safe from COVID-19 and other potential workplace issues. Find out how Gabrielle Union, who claimed America’s Got Talent had a toxic work environment, reacted to the changes.
Gabrielle Union claimed she was intimidated
Union was a judge on season 14 of the show. Jay Leno reportedly made a racist comment while filming and Union urged producers to report it to human resources. They reportedly didn’t do it. There was also a report that Union’s hair was considered “too Black” for the audience of America’s Got Talent.
Union was fired and she later spoke out about her experience. Production companies, Fremantle and Syco conducted an investigation of her claims and claimed no one made insensitive remarks to Union.
The actor then filed a complaint accusing NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy of threatening her, according to Variety. Union’s power attorney Bryan Freedman said, “On or about February 4, 2020, Telegdy threatened Union through her agent and warned Union’s agent that Union had better cease from pursuing her claims of racism while filming AGT. To hide behind the fact that Telegdy did not call her directly but her agent instead does not absolve him from his wrongful conduct. Should Mr. Telegdy wish to see phone records or call sheets from the date of his threat, we can make those available for the world to see.”
NBC announced new changes for ‘America’s Got Talent’ and more
The show’s network announced there will be changes once shows go back in production. The Hollywood Reporter reported some of these changes are to improve the culture in the work environment according to a memo by NBCUniversal TV and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus.
To support this effort, we have started to provide our third-party production partners with a variety of additional resources that reflect those provided to our in-house productions, including: respectful workplace policies, training materials tailored to the various types of production, and additional channels through which workers can report workplace concerns, including Comcast NBCUniversal Listens, which allows for anonymous reporting.
We will also expand our production-focused HR and corporate-level Fair Employment Practices teams, who will serve as resources for these shows as needed. In addition, we will provide our network employees who work closely with these third-party productions with specialized training to help them identify and escalate workplace issues they observe or experience themselves.NBCUniversal TV and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus , The Hollywood Reporter
Union responded to the news
The former judge tweeted on July 7 reacting to the announcement. She did call for more change.
“Great start by NBC to recognize the need to not turn away & ignore racial & gender discrimination on programs like #AGT. More changes are needed however like stopping executives from intimidating talent from sharing their experience of racism in their own workplace investigations,” she tweeted in response to The Hollywood Reporter’s article.
Fans responded to her tweet with concerns over the situation. One fan tweeted, “For starters, you can’t investigate your own damn production when the allegations are against you. Believe women and Black people when they come forward – they have nothing to gain by speaking out. They risk a lot. Sham investigation days need to be over.”
Another person tweeted, “Mandatory Bias/Awareness training needs to happen for all IA and Guild members. #TogetherWeShine.”