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Gabrielle Union will meet with America’s Got Talent this week

Gabrielle Union has a meeting scheduled with NBC this week following her sacking from America’s Got Talent.

The star was sacked from the hit show amid claims to discrimination and racism, but according to a new report from Deadline, she will sit down with legal counsel retained by NBC to discuss ways to improve what she sees as a ‘toxicity that has become normalized at Talent’.

An insider explains that the purpose of the meeting, to be held at a Beverly Hills law firm, is to see how the culture and atmosphere on the series can be improved, but Gabrielle will not under any circumstances return as a judge.   

Time to talk: Gabrielle Union has a meeting scheduled with NBC this week to discuss ways to improve what she sees as a ‘toxicity that has become normalized at Talent’ following her sacking from the show

‘Gabrielle believes there is a toxicity that has become normalized at Talent,’ the insider told Deadline. ‘She wants to help fix that, because she loved a lot of her time on the show last season, even with the issues with Simon and what have you.

‘But she could never go back, even if they did a [180] and asked her to for another season — no.’

Gabrielle has yet to speak directly with the network about her the racial bias and discrimination she says she experienced.

According to the source she will meet with outside counsel retained by NBC, but it is not clear if any representatives from the network itself will be present.  

Out: Gabrielle and fellow judge Julianne Hough were sacked after just one season on the show (pictured alongside Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell)

Out: Gabrielle and fellow judge Julianne Hough were sacked after just one season on the show (pictured alongside Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell) 

Sources close to NBC say the network is ‘determined to show that any investigation they initiate maintains strict and unbiased independence’, in the wake of the shock allegations.  

A bombshell Variety report first made the claims that judges Union and Julianne Hough’s contracts were not renewed after they had complained about alleged racist jokes and a toxic environment behind the scenes of the show. 

The conflict was reportedly sparked when Jay Leno made an anti-Korean slur during his guest appearance on the show back in April according to that Variety report.

Since the initial reports Dwayne Wade confirmed his wife Union was fired from the reality show last week, as several NBC sources now say they’re baffled by her booting from the show. 

Meeting: An insider explains that the purpose of the meeting between Union and legal counsel retained by NBC is to see how the culture and atmosphere on the series can be improved

Meeting: An insider explains that the purpose of the meeting between Union and legal counsel retained by NBC is to see how the culture and atmosphere on the series can be improved 

She also received more than half a dozen notes criticizing hairstyles as ‘too black’ for the show’s core audience, according to four sources with direct knowledge. 

Taking to Twitter late Wednesday, Wade inferred that Variety ‘s report was accurate, stating that his wife is ‘an advocate for our community and culture’. 

‘As proud as I was of her being selected as a judge on #AGT — I am even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US,’ the Miami Heat shooting guard wrote.  

On Monday, women’s advocacy group Time’s Up – which is responsible for the #MeToo movement in Hollywood – issued a very strongly worded statement in support of Union as they condemned NBCUniversal.

Advice: 'Gabrielle believes there is a toxicity that has become normalized at Talent,' the insider said. 'She wants to help fix that, because she loved a lot of her time on the show'

Advice: ‘Gabrielle believes there is a toxicity that has become normalized at Talent,’ the insider said. ‘She wants to help fix that, because she loved a lot of her time on the show’

CEO Tina Tchen blasted the media giant for what she observed as a ‘pattern’ within NBC as an institution in which they protect powerful men while retaliating against women who speak out.

She said:  ‘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.’

She goes on to say that Union’s harrowing story is not the only one that has been covered in the media.

Support: Stars have come out in support of Union, with Eva Longoria the latest to publicly voice her criticism of NBC

Support: Stars have come out in support of Union, with Eva Longoria the latest to publicly voice her criticism of NBC

Tchen explained:  ‘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. Building a culture of safety and equity requires continuous, intentional work sustained over a long period of time – even when a company isn’t in the throes of a crisis.

‘Ensuring people of all kinds are respected and supported at work is critical for any company, but especially a media company like NBC that has such an outsized influence in our culture and in our lives.’ 

Stars have come out in support of Union, with Eva Longoria the latest to publicly voice her criticism of NBC. Writing on Instagram on Monday the actress said: ‘What @gabunion experienced on set at @NBC’s #AmericasGotTalent is unacceptable.’. 

In the spotlight:  The conflict was reportedly sparked when Jay Leno made an anti-Korean slur during his guest appearance on the show back in April according to a Variety report

In the spotlight:  The conflict was reportedly sparked when Jay Leno made an anti-Korean slur during his guest appearance on the show back in April according to a Variety report

‘It’s time for @NBCUniversal to commit to long-term, concrete action to fix its toxic workplace culture and ensure safety and equity for all its workers. Add your name through @timesupnow Instagram story. #TimeUp on the imbalance of power. ✊’

Radio host Howard Stern, who was a judge on AGT between 2012 and 2015, also spoke out on the claims on Monday. Speaking on his radio show Stern tore into Cowell, saying: ‘How is it that that freak Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?’ 

‘He has set it up that the men stay no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are – no matter how talentless they are.’  

‘What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious.’ 

On Sunday night, Jay Leno made his first comments since the firing of Union from the reality series after complaining about his racist anti-Korean joke.

Point of conflict: The 69-year-old comedian guest starred in an episode which aired in April as he is seen pictured to the right of 47-year-old Union on the judges panel

Point of conflict: The 69-year-old comedian guest starred in an episode which aired in April as he is seen pictured to the right of 47-year-old Union on the judges panel

The 68-year-old comedian was seen leaving his special set at The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California on Sunday night.

He was asked several questions about the controversy surrounding the reality talent competition show and dodged most of them until the 47-year-old television personality Union came up. 

Jay – who guest starred in an episode which aired in April –  said:  ‘I love Gabrielle Union, she’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her, she’s really good.’

He was then asked if she was treated fairly but the former host of the Tonight Show remained mum when queried if she was treated fairly.

Leno said:  ‘I don’t know but I think she’s a great girl’

He was also asked if he regrets telling the Korean joke centered around eating dogs but the comedian jokingly mimed like he was giving a response but no actual words were coming out of his mouth.  

Union (center front) is pictured with her AGT co-stars (clockwise from top left) Terry Crews, Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough and Howie Mandel. Hough has also been fired from the show

Union (center front) is pictured with her AGT co-stars (clockwise from top left) Terry Crews, Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough and Howie Mandel. Hough has also been fired from the show

During his appearance on America’s Got Talent back in April, Leno taped a short interstitial segment in North Hollywood to be used between performances with Union and Hough nearby. 

According to the Variety report released last week, the comedian did a joke about a painting of executive producer Simon Cowell surrounded by his dogs, saying it looked like something one might see ‘on the menu at a Korean restaurant,’ claim four people who heard him.

One Asian staff member among the ‘very few’ Asian members of the crew and creative team was allegedly offended by the crack, which was viewed as perpetuating stereotypes about Asians as barbaric dog eaters. 

The consumption of dog meat in South Korea and in other Asian natures has decreased in recent years, and younger citizens and animal rights activists have harshly condemned the practice. 

Leno routinely performs a special set at The Comedy & Magic Club on Sunday nights.

One network insider told The New York Post on Thursday that the star had a  ‘productive conversation’ with producers following Leno’s alleged slur.

Meanwhile, sources at NBC are now claiming to be ‘puzzled’ by the fact that Union was not invited to return to the show’s 15th season next year.  

Meanwhile, another NBC source told The Post that at least six America’s Got Talent employees expressed confusion about the claims Union’s hair was ‘too black’. 

Jay Leno (left) appeared on the show in April, during which he made the alleged racist joke that sparked a complaint from Union

Jay Leno (left) appeared on the show in April, during which he made the alleged racist joke that sparked a complaint from Union

Leno reportedly made a joke about a painting of executive producer Simon Cowell surrounded by his dogs, saying it looked like something one might see 'on the menu at a Korean restaurant'

Leno reportedly made a joke about a painting of executive producer Simon Cowell surrounded by his dogs, saying it looked like something one might see ‘on the menu at a Korean restaurant’

‘No one had heard this,’ the insider stated, adding that any feedback about Union and Hough’s hair would only be about ‘continuity’ for the audience. 

‘I would honestly be shocked [about alleged racism]. Ensuring a safe environment is so important to the show. Anytime someone comes forward and has issues, we take things very seriously’.

The source added that America’s Got Talent had a diverse cast and crew. 

DailyMail.com has reached out to NBC, who stated that ‘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.’

Dynamic duo: Since the initial reports Dwayne Wade confirmed his wife Union was fired from the reality show last week, as several NBC sources now say they're baffled by her booting

Dynamic duo: Since the initial reports Dwayne Wade confirmed his wife Union was fired from the reality show last week, as several NBC sources now say they’re baffled by her booting

Wade took to Twitter Wednesday morning, where he addressed the report

Wade took to Twitter Wednesday morning, where he addressed the report

Meanwhile on Twitter, Wade congratulated his wife on a successful season of the show. 

‘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,’ he wrote. 

‘So when i got the news that my wife was being fired – my first question was obviously why!? I am still waiting on a good answer to that question. 

While this season’s finale had significantly smaller viewership than the previous year, it still came out on top in the coveted 18–49 demographic.

Another important metric is social media impressions, which doubled with the ouster of previous judges Heidi Klum and Mel B of the Spice Girls.

In particularly, Union was responsible for around half of the show’s 25 million social media impressions, according to Nielsen Social, a compelling statistic suggesting she was the most popular judge on the show.   

On Thanksgiving Day, Union made her first comments about the firing as she also took to Twitter writing: ‘So many tears, so much gratitude. THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone … you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.’ 

Her fellow ousted co-star Hough made a statement to Variety that she ‘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. I’m looking forward to what the future holds,’ she said. 

Union has not publicly commented on her ousting from AGT

Union has not publicly commented on her ousting from AGT  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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