A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment.
“So when I got the news that my wife was being fired – my first question was obviously why!” Wade asked. “I’m still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.”
He added: “‘Men lie, Women lie, numbers don’t’ Over this past year I’ve been approached by many people saying that my wife @itsgabrielleu is the main reason they’ve started watching #AGT or that they love her insight and sincerity on the show.”
“As proud as i were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT— Iam even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.”
“So [champagne emoji] to you @itsgabrielleu on not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter and for kicking ass while you were on that platform. Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world.”
Sources revealed to Variety that Union had been criticized for her appearance on the show, notably that her rotating hair styles were “too black” for the “AGT” audience.
In April, Jay Leno acted as a guest judge on the variety show. During the taping, the former late night host made an anti-Asian joke that individuals — including Union, who served as a main judge for the 14th season — found offensive. Union encouraged producers to report the joke to human resources, reportedly not the first time she expressed concern of the toxic culture at “AGT.”
According to Vulture, Union was allegedly told that a 10-year-old black rapper, Dylan Gilmer, wasn’t fit for the program because the producers wanted a contestant “America could get behind.” They ultimately chose a group of white high-kicking dancers.
The Vulture report also revealed that Union, who is allergic to cigarette smoke, filed a complaint about Simon Cowell smoking indoors, but was told by an NBC executive that they couldn’t stop him. The “AGT” exec producer and judge has reportedly smoked for years inside the show, which is against the law in California.
Union has yet to comment on the initial report of her exit. Along with Hough, this was Union’s first season on the series, stepping in for former judges Mel B and Heidi Klum. Both Hough and Union will not return for the 15th season.
NBC and Fremantle, the production company behind “AGT,” responded to the allegations in a joint statement:
“‘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.”
Wade and Union married in 2014 and have been vocal in their social activism, like recently supporting the attendance of their 11-year-old child, Zion, at the Miami Pride parade.