Gabrielle Union Opens Up About America’s Got Talent Investigation And Simon Cowell’s On-Set Smoking

Press Association

Gabrielle Union has opened up about NBC’s investigation surrounding her controversial exit from America’s Got Talent last November.

Union recently appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and her decision to call out racism while working in Hollywood.

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“I thought it was the easiest show,” Union said of joining America’s Got Talent as a judge. “How hard is it to … watch jugglers? That’s what I thought I signed up for.”

She continued to share how this was not the case and things had not been easy for her on set from the start. “Day one, Simon Cowell is smoking cigarettes inside. I’ve worked a long time. I’ve worked with all kinds of people. I’ve never experienced that.”

“When your boss — the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities and who doesn’t — doesn’t believe that the law applies to him or the rules apply to him, and he does it in full view of NBC, Fremantle and Syco and no one cares about Simon Cowell exposing all of these employees to second hand smoke, that’s day one,” she claimed.

She also opened up about her role in the investigation. “I decided to participate in this investigation. … Silly me, I thought ‘independent’ was independent. But when NBC and [producers] Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it,” Union explained. “They turn over what they believe to be inflammatory things, or things that are not advantageous to me.”

She added how things got so bad that NBC chairman Paul Telegdy even threatened her agent. “In the middle of an investigation about racism and discrimination? This is what’s happening from the top of the company,” Union explained.

Union continued by offering solutions on how things can begin to change. “There has to be an increase in representation across the board from the top to the bottom,” Union told Noah.

“We have to be able to be okay with change that doesn’t always benefit us,” Union continued. “Some people believe that … the only way to lead is to center yourself in every argument. But what I’m learning throughout this whole process is, sometimes the best way to lead is to get out of the way and make room for someone else. We have to dismantle the whole thing. We can’t put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.”

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia loves all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, reading thriller novels, and styling outfits on Instagram.