Gabrielle Union is calling for major changes to be made in the entertainment industry amid her ongoing battle with “America’s Got Talent” bosses.
Union appeared on Tuesday’s “Daily Social Distancing Show” and spoke with Trevor Noah about inclusivity and diversity.
The star, who has claimed she was fired as a judge on “AGT” because she complained of racism and other on-set issues, insisted the notion of “going along to get along” must end.
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She shared, in a clip posted by Yahoo!: “Trying to figure out how you work around the bad apples as opposed to addressing and making those bad apples accountable.
“In front of and behind the camera, there has to be an increase in representation from across the board, from the top to the bottom — who gets to make the decisions of which projects to green light, who is a part of those development processes, who gets to determine budgets.
“We have to be able to be okay with change that doesn’t always benefit us. Some people believe that leadership — the only way to lead — is to center yourself in every argument. 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. You have to dismantle the whole thing. You cant put a Band-Aid on a gunshot.”
Union added of Simon Cowell smoking cigarettes inside the set, “When your boss, the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities, believes law doesn’t apply to him… and he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco.
“And no one cares he’s exposing employees to second-hand smoke — that’s Day 1, 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 lack of accountability?” she said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
She also spoke about the Black Lives Matter protests and the pandemic, admitting that being a Black woman in America right now is “just one big anxiety attack.”
“The nonstop onslaught of trauma… I don’t even know if anxiety is a big enough word,” Union said. “It feels like terror in my body. You try to figure out how best you can cope and then help.”
Union continued of just wanting employees to be treated fairly, “Nobody is asking for anything special, nobody is asking for somebody to separate their Skittles or M&Ms… just treat people fairly. Have mechanisms in place for when things happen, there are consequences.”
NBC, show producers, Freemantle and Syco recently released a statement to ET Canada regarding Union’s comments, which read: “We have a shared passion to make ‘America’s Got Talent’ a positive, inclusive and diverse show that is open to all individuals from any country or background. We are proud and grateful that our contestants and audiences support our ongoing mission, which is represented in the incredible people who participate in the show each year.
“We have heard from contestants and talent alike that their experience on ‘AGT’ has had a positive impact on their lives. When we heard Ms. Union had concerns about her time on the show, we took them extremely seriously.
“NBC, Fremantle and Syco immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union. While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.
“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.”