UPDATE at 1:35pm PT on December 4, 2019: Gabrielle Union gave an update on the situation as well, saying she had what she considers a “productive” meeting with NBCU, where she was able to “express my unfiltered truth.”
We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) December 4, 2019
Original story below …
While Julianne Hough issued a statement when the story about her and Gabrielle Union’s abrupt “America’s Got Talent” firing first broke, fans haven’t heard from her as more reports about the alleged “toxic” workplace environment have continued to drop.
Today, while speaking with PEOPLE Now, she addressed the situation again, after initially saying she had a “wonderful” time on the show and was “happy” to continue working with NBC.
“There have been a lot of headlines and press about you and Gabrielle Union not returning to ‘America’s Got Talent.’ How are you handling that situation and is there anything you wanted to clear up?” she was asked, keeping the specifics to a minimum.
“I would just say that — my goodness. I just believe and value at the highest regard that everybody has a voice and should be heard, first and foremost,” she began. “And then I believe that the paradigm of the workplace and how you do business and work with people now, it’s shifting, and I think that the people that really want to see change happen are going to authentically and positively and integrally do that. And so that’s all I really have to say about that.”
When asked if she’s recovered after taking a morale hit, Hough said she’s “good.”
“I know who I am, and as egocentric as this may sound, I totally and utterly love myself,” she added. “And so I choose to, with whatever I do, just take all the lessons that I’ve learned and add them to my vocabulary and move forward. There’s so many projects I’m doing with NBC, I’m really excited about.”
Last week, it was reported that the ladies were let go after a single season of being judges for speaking out against the “toxic culture” on set.
According to media reports, Union was deemed “difficult” because she brought up concerns over an alleged racist joke Jay Leno told on camera, would ask performers in drag their preferred pronoun, and even called out Simon Cowell for smoking inside the building. The two were reportedly also scrutinized for their physical appearances, with Union reportedly receiving half a dozen notes across the season that her changing hairstyles were “too black” for “AGT” audiences.
Allegations against the show regarding Hough include constant criticism of her hair, makeup and wardrobe choices — which were quite bold at times. Variety’s sources say this hurt her morale, but Hough denied these claims and painted a different picture of the story in a statement of her own.
“I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ I loved working with the cast, crew and producers,” she said at the time, adding that she is “happy to continue my working relationship with NBC.” Hough will be joining brother Derek for “Holidays with the Houghs” this month and will be a part of its “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special as well.
NBC and Freemantle responded to the claims by saying, “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
In an additional statement, NBC, Freemantle and Simon Cowell’s production company, Syco Entertainment, claimed they were “working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”