One year ago, Gabrielle Union was a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Now, she is reportedly making moves that could lead, eventually, to filing a suit.
In a new post on Twitter, Yashar Ali of New York Magazine noted that Union has filed a complaint against all notable parties involved in the show — NBCUniversal, production company Fremantle US, Simon Cowell, and his Syco production company — with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The potential suit-to-be is related to Union’s complaints of racial discrimination and sexism, and it may also be tied to the investigation that was completed earlier this month into the show’s behind-the-scenes culture. Here is what they had to say at the time:
“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.”
If you thought that this was going to lead to the end of the story, think again. You can read a statement, via TVLine, from Union’s attorney Bryan Freedman below:
When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of radically offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not ‘stand’ with her in ‘outrage at acts of racism.’ Instead, NBC did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved. Rather, NBC stood against her and directed its ‘outrage’ at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced while working for NBC on America’s Got Talent.In sharp contrast to NBC’s recent statement on race, what was truly an ‘outrage’ was the fact that Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, actually threatened Ms. Union in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show. There is no place for this type of racial bullying in the workplace, and it is going to take more than a Tweet from NBC to demonstrate that NBC intends to create an environment free from racism.
It is still far too early to tell what the results of this investigation are going to be, but Union filing suit against the show and most notable parties indicates strongly that she is still willing to take a stand. It also signals that NBC is going to have to do so much more than just release the results of a purported investigation and then also statements during a time of crisis. They need to show steps that demonstrate actual equality in the workplace.
We will have more on this story as it breaks. (Photo: NBC.)