Gabrielle Union is thanking fans for support amid her ouster NBC’s America’s Got Talent. She took to social media to caption a shot of herself with hubby Dwayne Wade, 12-year-old stepson Zion and 1-year-old daughter Kaavia James: “To all the friends and family that have my back and all the friends and family I’ve never met who show love and support when everyone is looking and when no one is looking…All praise, gratitude and thankfulness.”
Ellen Pompeo rallied to Union’s defense after reports emerged that she was fired for speaking out against bad behaviour. “It’s unfortunate that @nbc the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it…has not changed their practices or culture. I support @itsgabrielleu commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage” Pompeo began, referening former Today show anchor Matt Lauer’s firing after years of alleged sexual misconduct.
She then addressed fellow “white girls,” telling them to “stand with your sisters.” Union is black. Pompeo continued: “This is a teaching moment..It’s important..white girls I’m talking to you..whether you truly understand what racial injustice is or not..that you stand with your sisters on the front lines. Don’t cut side deals & don’t not get involved because it isn’t your issue..because it is.”
Pompeo acknowledged that there have been issues at her network, ABC, where Grey’s Anatomy airs: “Also I feel important to mention our problems on the Greys set and every set has them…some kind of issue …there’s lots of people in a workplace.. point is… exec producers and the NETWORK @abc cared enough to help us make change support is crucial.”
Will & Grace star Debra Messing criticized NBC as well, and toasted Pompeo for speaking out.
“Thank you for this @EllenPompeo,” Messing, 51, wrote. “This is disgusting behavior from a network that has been my professional home for decades. Yes, women become ‘difficult,’ when their insistence on a respectful and professional working environment, is ignored.”
“Addressing a hostile work environment is inconvenient when there is a huge money making machine that is involved. It is cowardice, greed, and protection of the status quo revealed. Being ‘hands off,’ is inexcusable and reflects a laissez faire attitude toward systemic racism and sexism,” she continued, tagging Union.
Jameela Jamil also spoke out on Twitter, writing: “I am lucky to work with really good people at @nbc and am sad and angry to know this has been going on in that same network. I stand with @itsgabrielleu all the way. They should bring her back, with a big raise, and remove @SimonCowell instead.”
Many other fans, writers, celebs and producers also cheered Union on and wondered why NBC opted to oust her for allegedly criticizing bad behavior on-set.
Reports last week indicated that the talent series was plagued with toxicity and that she was given the boot after she let producers know that racially insensitive incidents had occurred. She and fellow judge Julianne Hough also reportedly received “excessive notes on their physical appearance.”
Other reports indicate that guest Jay Leno allegedly made a joke about a picture of exec producer Simon Cowell with a dog, comparing it to something one would find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant,” an allusion to a racist trope that all Asian people eat dog meat.
In a statement to Variety, dancer/actress Hough denied that she had a negative experience working on the show.
“I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” said Hough, who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”