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‘America’s Got Talent’ scandal investigation finds no racial bias, ‘derogatory remarks’

Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough exited the show

The Salt Lake trapeze act Duo Transcend are the first trapeze act in “AGT” history to make it to the Top 10. The duo performs at the Eccles Theater on Saturday, Dec. 29.
The Salt Lake trapeze act Duo Transcend are the first trapeze act in “AGT” history to make it to the Top 10. The duo performs at the Eccles Theater on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Trae Patton/NBC, Episodic

An investigation into the workplace culture of “America’s Got Talent” found the talent show did not have any insensitive reaction to former judge Gabrielle Union, who exited the show after one season, along with Julianne Hough, according to Entertainment Weekly.

What’s going on:

  • Union alleged that she and Hough received many notes about their appearances and that Union hair was “too black” for the “AGT” audience. Union said she experienced racially insensitive moments, too, including a joke made by guest judge Jay Leno, which was later edited out of the show.
  • NBC and Fremantle released a statement on Wednesday that said they no evidence of “any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance.”
  • The statement read: “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.”

What Union said in a new interview

  • On Wednesday, Variety published a new interview with Union. She said she consistently saw the workplace as toxic.
  • She said: “I signed up for the experience of being a part of a show that hails itself as the biggest stage in the world. Super diverse, and one about giving people an opportunity to shine where they otherwise probably wouldn’t. What could go wrong?
  • “There are so many people who are committed to making NBCUniversal and Comcast different, who truly want to be a part of the solution and on the right side of history. ... In the same breath, there are some people who want the wheels of change to come to a grinding halt because they feel that their privilege is being challenged.”