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Heidi Klum DEFENDS America’s Got Talent after Gabrielle Union firing and complaints of racism


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Heidi Klum has defended America’s Got Talent after Gabrielle Union’s firing.

The 46-year-old German-American model insisted that her experience on the NBC reality competition show has been great as she has not experienced the toxic work environment allegedly described by 47-year-old Union.

Heidi – who is one of the judges replacing Union and Julianne Hough – said during the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour: ‘I’ve only had an amazing experience.

‘I can’t speak for [Gabrielle]. I didn’t experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I’ve never seen anything that was weird or hurtful.’

Interesting: Klum said she has not experienced the toxic work environment allegedly described by Union (pictured)

Opposing opinions: Heidi Klum insisted that her experience on the NBC reality competition show has been great as she has not experienced the toxic work environment allegedly described by Union

Klum has returned to the series alongside newcomer Alesha Dixon who is a British singer and rapper.

Heidi was previously a judge over six seasons (8-13) from 2013 to last year before her comeback.

This comes just days after NBC said an investigation into Gabrielle Union’s complaints of racism and other troubling behavior on set of Simon Cowell’s America’s Got Talent will be taken very seriously.

On Saturday, the network’s entertainment chief Paul Telegdy said the company will respond appropriately when it receives the findings of its inquiry, which he said may be completed by the end of January.

'I've only had an amazing experience': Heidi - who is one of the judges replacing Union and Julianne Hough - made the statement during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour

‘I’ve only had an amazing experience’: Heidi – who is one of the judges replacing Union and Julianne Hough – made the statement during the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour

‘I’m very confident if we learn something … we will put new practices in place if necessary. We certainly take anyone’s critique of what it means to come to work here incredibly seriously,’ the NBC Entertainment chairman told a TV critics meeting during a Q&A session.

‘We want to always go after the truth. That’s our culture here, you can ask anyone who works here,’ he said.

Union was a judge on the talent showcase for a season, until she and fellow freshman judge Hough weren’t asked to return. 

Interesting: NBC says an investigation into Gabrielle Union's complaints of racism and other troubling behavior on set of Simon Cowell's America's Got Talent will be taken very seriously

Head honcho: Cowell pictured on the AGT panel

Interesting: NBC says an investigation into Gabrielle Union’s complaints of racism and other troubling behavior on set of Simon Cowell’s America’s Got Talent will be taken very seriously

Top dog: On Saturday, the network's entertainment chief Paul Telegdy said during a Q&A session the company will respond appropriately when it receives the findings of its inquiry, which he said may be completed by the end of January.

Top dog: On Saturday, the network’s entertainment chief Paul Telegdy said during a Q&A session the company will respond appropriately when it receives the findings of its inquiry, which he said may be completed by the end of January.

The trade publication Variety reported that Union, who is black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks. 

That included what Union said were multiple notes from producers saying she was wearing her hair ‘too black’ for the America’s Got Talent audience.

Union had also complained of other behavior, such as judge-producer Simon Cowell’s smoking on the indoor set, Variety reported in November.

NBC has spoken with Union as part of its formal investigation that began in early December.

Partner: Union, 47, was a judge on the talent showcase for a season, until she and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return

Partner: Union, 47, was a judge on the talent showcase for a season, until she and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return

Without directly referring to NBC or the two companies that produce the show, Fremantle and Syco, Union has tweeted about her situation several times, acknowledging the support she’s gotten and retweeting instructions on how to give a proper apology.

Union’s husband, former NBA player Dwyane Wade, and other prominent people have called for answers on why she was fired.

In a statement last November, NBC and Fremantle defended what they called the show’s ‘long history of inclusivity and diversity.’

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, of which Union is a member, also said that it was working with the actress to investigate her complaints.

Moving on: The 47-year-old television personality Union is seen filming series LA's Finest in Los Angeles on Monday morning

Moving on: The 47-year-old television personality Union is seen filming series LA’s Finest in Los Angeles on Monday morning

Controversy: The trade publication Variety reported that Union, who is black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks

Controversy: The trade publication Variety reported that Union, who is black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks

Making moves: Union donned an Adidas track jacket and grey working leggings

Making moves: Union donned an Adidas track jacket and grey working leggings

The revelation comes just a month after 60-year-old Cowell’s antics were reportedly at the center of the five-hour meeting Gabrielle Union held with NBC executives on Wednesday following her shock axing from America’s Got Talent. 

Sources familiar with Union’s closed-door talks told Deadline at the time that ‘the great part of the discussion’ revolved around co-star Cowell’s ‘acerbic behavior’ and his ‘overlording’ on the set of the show. 

Union also reportedly complained about the fact that Cowell often smoked  on the indoor set of the show.  

‘The ball is in NBC’s court to see if they can get Cowell to agree to make some changes to the way things are done on the show,’ the insider told Deadline. 

Simon Cowell's antics were reportedly at the center of the five hour meeting Gabrielle Union held with NBC executives on Wednesday following her shock axing from America's Got Talent

Interesting: Cowell’s antics were reportedly at the center of the five hour meeting Gabrielle Union held with NBC executives on Wednesday following her shock axing from America’s Got Talent

However, that may be difficult given that Cowell is both the creator and producer of America’s Got Talent. The media mogul has also been a judge on the program since 2016. 

Union, meanwhile, was only brought on to the show last season on a contract. 

It’s believed Union and Cowell clashed immediately. 

Back in July, as tensions reached breaking point, the pair met at Cowell’s Malibu beach house to talk through their issues, according to Vanity Fair. 

During that talk, Cowell is alleged to have urged Union to bring any issues she had to him – ‘a request that Union took as an attempt to mask bad behavior’.  

After complaining to execs about the toxic work environment, her contract was not renewed. 

A bombshell Variety report first made the claims that  Union and her co-star Julianne Hough (both pictured center) both failed to have contracts renewed after they had complained about alleged racist jokes and a toxic environment behind the scenes of the show

A bombshell Variety report first made the claims that  Union and her co-star Julianne Hough (both pictured center) both failed to have contracts renewed after they had complained about alleged racist jokes and a toxic environment behind the scenes of the show

Union tweeted about the meeting with NBC execs on Wednesday

Union tweeted about the meeting with NBC execs on Wednesday 

Amid outrage at the news, Union met with NBC to air her grievances on Wednesday.  

‘We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,’ 47-year-old Union tweeted

‘I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.’ 

A bombshell Variety report first made the claims that judges Union and her co-star 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.

The conflict was reportedly sparked when Jay Leno made an anti-Korean slur during his guest appearance on the show back in April. He is pictured on the set of the show at the time

The conflict was reportedly sparked when Jay Leno made an anti-Korean slur during his guest appearance on the show back in April. He is pictured on the set of the show at the time 

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

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’

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.

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.’ 

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

‘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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Racist? Union received more than half a dozen notes criticizing hairstyles as 'too black' for the show's core audience (pictured with year-old daughter Kaavia James on August 13)

Racist? Union received more than half a dozen notes criticizing hairstyles as ‘too black’ for the show’s core audience (pictured with year-old daughter Kaavia James on August 13)

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.’

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.’

Say what? By contrast, all three men on the NBC competition - judges Simon Cowell (L) and Howie Mandel (2-R) as well as host Terry Crews (R) - are all expected to come back next year (pictured with winner Kodi Lee on September 18)

Say what? By contrast, all three men on the NBC competition – judges Simon Cowell (L) and Howie Mandel (2-R) as well as host Terry Crews (R) – are all expected to come back next year (pictured with winner Kodi Lee on September 18)

‘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.’

Sharon Osbourne, who spent six seasons as an AGT judge, has spoken out about having her ‘own problems’ with NBC.

Sharon, 67, shared her own experience, explaining she only left AGT in 2012 ‘because of NBC’ and not because of the atmosphere on set, as she insisted ‘the crew and everybody’ were ‘amazing to her’.

On Monday’s episode of ‘The Talk’, she said: ‘It’s hard. Everybody’s experience on a show is different, and I was at that show for six years. I didn’t get let go. I left. And that’s the truth. I left because NBC, not because of the show.

‘I had my own problems with the network. I don’t know about any of her concerns about the show.’

Sharon didn’t want to comment on Gabrielle’s concerns over the racially insensitive acts on set. She added: ‘Obviously, there wasn’t anybody of colour on the panel when I was there. So, I honestly can’t say. But when I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on.

‘The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network.’

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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