Gabrielle Union and AGT Reach Settlement

Gabrielle Union proves the power of standing up and speaking out as she settles her lawsuit with America’s Got Talent over racist and toxic work environment

Kay Montgomery

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: October 1st 2020 12:55 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

America’s Got Talent has reached a settlement with award-winning actress, author and entrepreneur Gabrielle Union. The world’s biggest talent show, produced by and starring Simon Cowell, found itself in hot water last year when Union leveled a lawsuit with accusations of a toxic and racist workplace. 

The details of the settlement are confidential but one must wonder if the high profile case will lead to more sensitivity on Hollywood sets plagued with similar issues. Union for her part has asserted that part of her aim is to make the workplace safer for everyone and hopes that others will feel emboldened by her stand, especially newcomers  to the business.

Union, who currently stars in Spectrum Original series L.A.’s Finest, sums up the importance of using her voice,

“If I can’t speak out with the privilege that I have, and the benefits that my husband and I have, what is the point of making it?” 

Among her complaints were racist jokes made on camera (and later edited out) by Jay Leno, a contestant in blackface, constant critiquing over her hair that was deemed “too Black” and smoking on set by Cowell, which is prohibited by California law.

Speaking out about the toxicity on set at the reality talent show juggernaut was not broached lightly as Union asserted in Variety, revealing that she was “terrified” to speak out but later realized that the issue was bigger than her,

“What is the point of having a seat at the table and protecting your privilege when you’re not doing s— to help other people? It’s absolutely terrifying to speak truth to power about anything.” 

One of Union’s most viral claims was in relation to her hair and being told the styles she wanted to wear on AGT were ‘too Black”.  

Many Black women took to twitter and penned articles voicing their hurt and dismay at receiving the exact same discriminatory critique across a variety of workplaces. Timelines were flooded with personal stories of Black women’s hair being policed, a fact that many white counterparts admitted they were oblivious to. Unfortunately, discriminating against Black women’s hair is legal in many states, though the California originated law, The Crown Act, strives to make the practice illegal nationwide.

Turning lemons into lemonade, Union has parlayed this issue into relaunching her line of hair care products. Flawless encourages African American women of all hair textures to celebrate and embrace their hair.

About The Author:

Kay Montgomery is a host at Afterbuzz TV who loves sitcoms and is currently embroiled in a vicious debate on Bracketology. She is A Different World devotee and although she has a masters degree in Education from The University of Redlands, she would have given anything to go to fictional Hillman College.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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