Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough Out at ‘America’s Got Talent’ (EXCLUSIVE)
Judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough are vacating their chairs on NBC’s unscripted series “America’s Got Talent,” Variety can report exclusively. Union, an NAACP Image award winner and prolific film and TV presence, joined the panel this year with Hough. An NBC spokesperson confirmed that the pair will not return for the 2020 season. Representatives for Union and Hough did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Union and Hough had replaced longtime judges Melanie Brown (Spice Girls) and model-host Heidi Klum for the show’s 14th season.
Ex-judge has addressed former colleague ‘s on Wednesday following their controversial exits from the competition show.
Hough told AccessHollywood that she supports open and “respectful” dialogue.
“That’s really exciting,” she said of the meeting.”I think that’s such an important step that two people — or multiple people — can come together and create change or whatever it may be,” she told ExtraTV. “And that there is a dialogue and a narrative that is respectful and integral. That’s amazing and I hope that we can see that that is a great step.
'AGT' responds to report that 'toxic culture' led to Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough's exits
"America's Got Talent" producers responded to a report that Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough are leaving amid a culture of toxic, racist comments.“America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show," NBC and production company Fremantle said in a joint statement sent to USA TODAY. "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.
When asked if she’s spoken directly with Union, Hough said she has “not.”
She expanded on that during.
“I have reached out. I think we both have been very busy … hopefully when I get back to L.A. later this afternoon, we can have a conversation,” she said.
She applauded her former costar for taking a stand — and the network for hearing her out.
“We need to start conversations, and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation. I’m really proud of NBC as well for also showing up and starting a narrative, and that’s what’s going to change the work place, and the paradigm that we’ve been working in for many many years and is shifting, and I think that’s really exciting,” she said. “Life is crazy, and sometimes you can’t control things, and when obstacles come your way, you have to be graceful about it and have integrity, and I think that people with authenticity and integrity will create change.”
Howard Stern Calls 'AGT' the 'Ultimate Boys Club,' Blames Simon Cowell for Gabrielle Union Ouster
Former "America's Got Talent" judge Howard Stern suggested on his radio show on Monday that Simon Cowell may have had a hand in orchestrating the exits of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough from the NBC competition show. "He sets it up that the men stay," Stern said on his SiriusXM show. "No matter how ugly [the men] are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are." "What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks," he continued.
Union, 47, tweeted Wednesday that she had met with the television broadcasting company and expressed her “hope for real change.”
“We had a lengthy 5-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,” Union wrote.
After the meeting, NBC announced that it will further investigate
“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
The meeting came amidthat Union and Hough‘s exits from the show were reportedly the result of a toxic workplace culture at the network’s talent competition series, which is produced by Fremantle and Syco Entertainment, show creator ‘s company.
Eva Longoria Slams NBC as She Supports Gabrielle Union After Controversial AGT Firing
Eva Longoria Speaks Out in Support of Gabrielle Union“What @gabunion experienced on set at @NBC’s #AmericasGotTalent is unacceptable,” Longoria, 44, wrote on Instagram Monday, following reports last week claiming that Union expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge before she was fired.
News broke on Nov. 22 that Hough and Union — who joined the season 14 AGT judging panel in February, replacing spots vacated by Mel B and— for the show’s 15th season. It has yet to be announced who will replace them.
On Nov. 26, a report by Variety claimed that while working on the show, Union expressed concerns over a joke allegedly made by guest judge Jay Leno that was later edited out of the episode.
Along with Union’s reported allegations of racial insensitivities, both she and Hough, 31, were also subjected to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, sources alleged in Variety‘s report. In one instance, Union was reportedly told her ever-changing hairstyles were “too black” for AGT‘s audience, while Hough reportedly received constant criticism on her hair, makeup and wardrobe.
In a statement to the publication at the time, Hough — who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials — denied that she had a negative experience on the show and said she was “happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.”
Gabrielle Union Describes 'Productive' 5-Hour Meeting With NBC: 'I Led With Transparency'
Gabrielle Union described her sit-down with representatives for NBC as a "productive" five-hour meeting about her "desire and hope for real change" in a tweet on Wednesday. "We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday," she wrote. "I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change." Union's tweet comes after NBC and "America's Got Talent""We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday," she wrote. "I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.
Hough told People Now this week that she believesadding, “I believe that the paradigm of the workplace and how you do business and work with people now, it’s shifting, and I think that the people that really want to see change happen are going to authentically and positively do that.”
A spokesperson for NBC and production company Fremantle responded to the allegations in Variety‘s report in a Nov. 26 statement to PEOPLE: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. 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.”
On Dec. 1, NBC, Fremantle and Syco Entertainment released the following joint statement: “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. 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.”
Union has not yet issued an official statement directly addressing the allegations.
After Orlando Jones, Gabrielle Union exits, actors' union expands investigation of producer .
Fremantle Media is under scrutiny after claims have surfaced from multiple stars who worked with the production company, including Orlando Jones.