Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting into sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, defended Gabrielle Union following her departure from NBCUniversal’s “America’s Got Talent,” during his time as guest co-host on “The View.”
“It’s no secret that I’ve done a bunch of reporting on a number of media companies,” Farrow said on Tuesday. “It is very clear that source after source is saying there is a systemic cultural problem with this kind of toxicity at NBC, with these types of men being protected. It is across the board.”
Variety exclusively reported the news of Union’s ouster last week. Union, a new hire for “AGT” Season 14, was reportedly not asked to return as judge after she urged producers to report an offensive joke made by Jay Leno. Additionally, Union says she faced racist criticism for her appearance, reportedly receiving notes that her rotating hair styles were “too black” for the audience.
“[NBCUniversal] had a bunch of secret settlements with people with harassment or discrimination complaints. They have refused outside investigations,” Farrow said in reference to NBCUniversal’s workplace environment. “I hope Gabrielle Union, in speaking about this to the extent she’s able — I know it’s difficult contractually — doesn’t face [the] kind of backlash [Weinstein whistleblowers faced], but we are still at a cultural moment where we just don’t listen to women enough.”
Yesterday, Time’s Up, an advocacy group founded as the Me Too movement roiled Hollywood, condemned NBCUniversal in a statement from CEO Tina Tchen.
“Gabrielle Union’s experience at ‘America’s Got Talent’ is exemplary of the double bind that black women face at work. Not only did Union reportedly endure and witness racist and inappropriate behavior — including racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance — but it also appears she was punished for speaking out: the company labeled her as ‘difficult’ before ousting her from the show altogether,” Tchen said.
“Union’s story is deeply troubling on its own, but her experience is particularly problematic because it follows a pattern of NBCUniversal protecting the careers of powerful men at the expense of women who speak out. Union’s experience shows that NBCUniversal still has a lot of work to do to change its culture so discrimination, harassment and retaliation are no longer tolerated at the company,” Tchen continued.
NBC has also faced criticism in its handling of claims against “Today Show” anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired in 2017 after an employee complained about “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Additionally, former “AGT” host Nick Cannon condemned NBCUniversal in a 2017 Facebook post following his abrupt resignation from the show.
“I was to be punished for a joke … My soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists and question cultural choices,” Cannon wrote. “Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so-called unruly actions.”