Gabrielle Union responded to news that NBC is increasing its efforts to protect employees from toxic work environments amid her ongoing feud with the network over her departure from “America’s Got Talent.”
NBCUniversal TV and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus issued a memo to employees Tuesday in which he explained that the company is bolstering its efforts to create a safe working environment where employees feel safe to come forward with issues of misconduct.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new protections will apply to both in-house programming and for third-party suppliers such as “AGT.”
Union appeared as a judge on Season 14 of the popular reality competition series. In November 2019, she alleged that there was a racist and “toxic” work culture on the set of the show. Shortly after, it came to light that she and fellow judge Julianne Hough wouldn’t be returning for the 2020 season.
Union claimed that she was subject to various racial criticisms while working on the show, including her many hairstyle changes, which were perceived as “too Black” for “AGT’s” core demographic — a critique Union claimed she received over half a dozen times.
Shortly after news of the memo hit, Union took to Twitter to note that it’s a step in the right direction but also acknowledged that a lot more needs to be done to prevent further cases like hers.
“Great start by NBC to recognize the need to not turn away & ignore racial & gender discrimination on programs like #AGT,” she wrote. “More changes are needed however like stopping executives from intimidating talent from sharing their experience of racism in their own workplace investigations.”
An investigation into Union’s complaints determined that no gender or racial bias had taken place, an assertion that Union questioned in a complaint against the network filed in California in June. During a recent appearance on “The Daily Show,” Union criticized NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy saying he exhibited behavior designed to intimidate her during the investigation.
“I participated in this investigation, and the investigation was ongoing, they turn over what they believe to be inflammatory things or things that are not advantageous to me, over to the head of NBC, Paul Telegdy, who then uses those things that he thinks are like smoking guns to shoot down my claims,” she told Noah. “He then threatens my agent, ‘Gabrielle better watch who she calls a racist.’ In the middle of an investigation about racism and discrimination? This is what’s happening from the top of the company.”