Gabrielle Union is opening up about her experience on America's Got Talent. On Tuesday, the 47-year-old star stopped by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah to discuss the importance of holding people accountable for fostering anti-Black sentiments in the workplace. Reflecting on her legal battle with the NBC show, Union spoke about the issues she faced working alongside Simon Cowell and the AGT crew.
She recalled Cowell smoking inside during their first day of shooting, saying, "When your boss — the person who has ability to determine who gets opportunities and who doesn't — doesn't believe that law applies to him or the rules apply to him and he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco and no one cares about Simon Cowell exposing all of these employees to secondhand smoke — that's day one, that's within the first hour — what message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and the lack of accountability? And it goes on and on and on."
Union then talked about NBC's independent investigation into her reports of racism and discrimination on set, saying that the inquiry wasn't impartial. "When NBC and Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it," she said. Union went on to share how NBC chairman Paul Telegdy threatened her agent, adding, "This is what's happening from the top of the company. So as we're all wanting to be part of the solution, as we're all wanting change, we have to hold the people at the very top accountable."
In May, NBC and AGT shared the results of their investigation in a statement, saying, "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."
Union responded in early June by filing a harassment, discrimination, and retaliation complaint against NBC. Above, watch Union further detail her AGT experience and discuss how the entertainment industry can be more inclusive and diverse.