Have you heard? Gabrielle Union’s days with America’s Got Talent have come to an end. The news broke on Nov. 22, with sources making it seem as if the change was merely another panel rotation. However, insiders are now claiming that Union’s departure was a lot more complicated than that.
According to multiple sources, Union got fired after allegedly speaking out about the work environment.
More on Gabrielle Union’s departure from ‘America’s Got Talent’
On Nov. 23, NBC sources told lovebscott.com that Union got canned after speaking out about “problematic” situations involving racism, sexism, and more.
Simon Cowell, they alleged, was the one who ultimately decided to replace Union.
“[Gabrielle’s] contract was not renewed after being the #1 talent on the show, NBC and network TV,” the sources said. “She set the record for her Golden Buzzer. They only replace the women and blacks at Simon’s whim. She wouldn’t walk away from $12 million because she’s ‘busy.’ Based on weekly interactions on social media, by the time [the] AGT finale aired Gabrielle was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. Why not pick up someone’s option in extreme success?”
The sources pointed to social media as a reason that Union, as well as Julianne Hough, should be on the show. On Nov. 22, Variety reported that Hough also won’t be returning to the series.
“Social media engagement is the new measuring stick for talent and Simon isn’t on social media. Julianne and Gabrielle were both way higher ranked/engaged than Howie [Mandel],” the source continued. “The idea the network wants to ‘switch things up’ only applies to women and Black folks.”
At this time, Union has not publicly commented on her departure from the show. She had only been a judge for one season, season 14, before her exit.
For his part, Cowell has not addressed rumors that he had something to do with it.
It’s not the first time someone has spoken out about the ‘AGT’ work environment
Former host Nick Cannon quit the show in 2017 after being “threatened with termination by executives” over a joke he made about NBC on a Showtime comedy special. He posted a lengthy note about the drama on social media, claiming that he had long been targeted by executives.
“I was to be punished for a joke … My soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices. Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so-called unruly actions,” he wrote on Facebook. “I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”
Cannon had hosted the show for eight seasons, quitting just before season 13 aired.
Sources added to lovebscott.com, “Gabrielle’s firing is merely a continuation of their problematic tendencies.”
“Let’s just say they didn’t start the racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia etc. in season 14,” the insiders said. “They were quite comfortable with it all by the time [Gabrielle] got there. Remember Nick said ‘NBC stands for N*gga Be Careful.’”
Oof. If the claims are true, there’s work to be done over at NBC. As of writing, the network has not commented on the latest report, but maybe it had a, um, less controversial reason for allegedly letting Union go. For example, Union has received criticism from fans for not being tough enough, with some even demanding her removal.
Either way, we know that it’s only up from here. Union is a decorated actress with a beautiful family. She’s married to Dwyane Wade, and they share a daughter, Kaavia. The Bring It On actress also supports his other three children from previous relationships.
We wish her the best moving forward. But all things considered, it doesn’t look like she needs it.