Gabrielle Union continues to gain support after sources revealed that the actress spoke out against a toxic work environment at NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. Along with a new petition from Time’s Up, the actress is also making moves on her own to challenge the competition show in-person.
According to Deadline, Union is scheduled to meet with NBC this week to discuss why she was fired from the show and how her speaking up could’ve played a role in her departure. Sources say the meeting is intended to change the culture of the series so that it’s more considerate and conscious of women, people of color and any other group that might have been harmed in the past. Although Union is taking the time to meet with the network, she still has no plans of returning to the show, according to the source.
“Gabrielle believes there is a toxicity that has become normalized at ‘Talent,'” an 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  and asked her to for another season — no.”
Union was let go from the show on November 22 after just one season and she hired Hollywood attorney Bryan Freedman last week after news of her leave became public. Freedman is the same person who represented Megyn Kelly last year during her lucrative exit from NBC News.
Sources who’ve worked on the show said their experience included racist jokes made by Jay Leno against Asians. Other sources also said that staffers made inappropriate critiques about Union’s constant changing of her hair. When Union spoke out against such instances, the show reportedly made little attempts to amend the culture and environment. Even Howard Stern, who was a former “America’s Got Talent” judge, slammed the show’s creator and judge Simon Cowell as being biased towards men and only hiring women because of their looks.
“He has set it up that the men stay,” Stern said, according to Deadline. “No matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are, no matter talentless they are. But 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, the network and producers Fremantle and Simon Cowell’s Syco released a statement saying, “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture. We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”
Since news hit that Union was reportedly let go for speaking out, everyone from T.V. creator Shonda Rhimes to #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza have joined Time’s Up in a petition to demand accountability from NBC.
“Union reportedly endured and witnessed racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance, and it also appears she was punished for speaking out,” the petition reads. “It’s time for NBC to stop protecting powerful men at the expense of its workers and address its toxic workplace culture, once and for all. TIME’S UP applauds Union for her courage and once again calls on NBC to take these allegations seriously and take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.”