“America’s Got Talent” host Terry Crews addressed reports that Gabrielle Union was effectively fired from the competition show in November after raising concerns over insensitivities to women and people of color.
Speaking on “3rd Hour of Today,” Crews said that the reports did not match his experience working on the NBC show.
“First of all, I can’t speak for sexism because I’m not a woman, but I can speak on behalf of any racism comments. That was never my experience on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ in fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment. The Top 10 acts were Asian, women, older, younger, Black, white, it was everything in the gamut,” Crews said.
“Now I have to say this too. When you look at what the allegations were about, it was given by an unnamed source. It’s funny, because I believe you should listen to women, you should always believe women, so I asked my wife what I should do. She was like, first of all, if it’s coming from an unnamed source, because Gabrielle Union has not made any statement to this day about any of these allegations publicly,” he added.
Crews’ claims that Union has not addressed the issue publicly are not entirely true, as she made comments during a female empowerment and inclusivity panel back in mid December that addressed workplace inequalities in a public forum.
“Don’t be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid. Don’t allow them to call you angry when someone else is called passionate. It’s terrifying. There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job … I speak from experience,” she said, though never specifically mentioning “America’s Got Talent.”
In late November, following Variety’s exclusive first report of her firing and a flood of support from celebrities and advocacy groups, Union expressed gratitude on social media, tweeting: “So many tears, so much gratitude. Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone … you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”
NBCUniversal launched a third party investigation to look into the accounts of racial insensitivity and a hostile climate for “AGT’s” women judges, as well as labor code violations like Simon Cowell’s reported insistence on indoor smoking.
Julianne Hough, who was also ousted at the same time as Union, commended Union for standing up for herself and congratulated NBC for agreeing to sit down with her for discussions.
“When I see that comment there that excites me so much because that is what we need to start conversations and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation,” said Hough during a “Today Show” appearance in December. “And I’m really proud of NBC as well for showing up and starting a narrative and that’s what’s going to change the workplace and the paradigm that we’ve been working in for many, many years. It’s shifting and that’s really exciting.”