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NBC has opened an investigation into racism and sexism allegations against America's Got Talent creator Simon Cowell, right.
The network tells Deadline.com they have a "deeper understanding of the facts" after meeting on Wednesday with Gabrielle Union, who was let go as a judge on the talent competition series.
Both NBC and Union called their 5-hour meeting "productive". Union, 47, asked for the meeting to hear her suggestions on improving the "toxic environment" on the set.
"The initial conversation was candid and productive," said the network. "While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution."
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Deadline says NBC plans to investigate Union's allegations that Cowell is "acerbic and overlording" on the set.
"The next step in the process for NBC is to have an as yet undetermined independent investigator prioritize moving things forward," Deadline writes.
"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," an insider tells Deadline.
Another source told People magazine that Cowell "Rubbed a lot of people the wrong way" on AGT. And he is "rarely told no."
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Gabrielle Union and NBC bosses sat down for a "productive" five-hour meeting to discuss the actress' issues with Simon Cowell's America's Got Talent show.
Gabrielle, 47, was fired as a judge on the talent competition TV series last month, amid reports she complained to bosses about racism and sexism on the set.
NBC executives called the actress in for a meeting on Tuesday after fellow celebrities sided with the mother-of-one and called out Cowell on social media.
"The initial conversation was candid and productive," a network spokesman tells Deadline.com. "While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution."
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Gabrielle, who served one season as a judge on the show, took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm she was happy with the meeting too, writing:
"We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change."
Gabrielle and fellow judge Julianne Hough's terminations from the show are currently under investigation by bosses at the SAG-AFTRA acting union, according to WENN.com.
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Gabrielle Union has involving the actor's union SAG-AFTRA in her dispute with NBC network over her controversial departure as a judge on America's Got Talent.
According to reports, Union and her fellow judge Julianne Hough were let go after just one season for underperforming as judges on the popular series.
While Hough, 31, expressed her gratitude to NBC for the opportunity, Union launched a smear campaign against NBC hoping to get her job back.
The 47-year-old Bring It On star asked the actor's union to investigate reports of racism and sexism on the set of Simon Cowell's talent competition series - reports that never surfaced publicly until after she was let go.
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Union was given the boot amid reports that she made multiple complaints to TV bosses about the "toxic" workplace culture on the set.
But NBC staffers are baffled, particularly about a Variety.com report that suggests they passed notes to Union about her ever-changing hair weave. A source told Variety that staffers complained to Union that her hair was "too Black" for the audience.
But NBC staffers vigorously denied the reports. They say they only mentioned "continuity" issues related to Union's often-changing hairstyles.
In a statement sent to Variety on Sunday, a spokesperson for SAG-AFTRA, the main union representing performers and actors, said they would investigate any alleged mistreatment of Union.
"We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously. We immediately reached out to Ms. Union's representatives when these reports came to light. It is our practice to work closely with members who reach out to us and their representatives in instances like this, as that usually affords the best protection and best resolution for the affected member."
They added: "While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now."
Earlier on Sunday, America's Got Talent producers and NBC bosses issued a statement saying that they 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."
But Union was not impressed with the statement after retweeting a note about what a "solid apology" should look like by writer Joelle Monique.
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Gabrielle Union's smear campaign against NBC has gotten her quick results. In a statement on Sunday, NBC said they are working with the former America's Got Talent judge to "hear more about her concerns."
NBC and America's Got Talent producers Fremantle and Syco said in a joint statement:
"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."
Union, 47, and fellow judge Julianne Hough, 31, were let go after Union reportedly became difficult to work with on the set.
Variety.com reported that Union complained about a "toxic workplace culture" on the series. A "source" revealed that Union was offended by an on-camera joke told by guest star Jay Leno.
Leno cracked a joke about a portrait hanging in NBC headquarters that showed producer Simon Cowell and his dogs. Leno said the dogs looked like something on the menu at an Asian restaurant.
Union reportedly asked HR to escalate her complaint about Leno's joke, which was cut before the episode aired.
The "source" also said Union was pestered with notes from NBC staffers complaining about her various lacefront wigs and hair weave accessories. The staffers reportedly said Union's hair was "too black" for AGT's audience.
After NBC released a statement on Sunday, Union retweeted a "covering your own ass" meme by writer Joelle Monique that outlined the three steps to a "solid apology".
But not everyone is convinced that Union is a victim of workplace harassment. Many are convinced that she is an unlikeable narcissist who would stoop to exploiting an emotionally troubled child to boost her career in Hollywood.
A Variety.com reader writes in the comments section (bold emphasis mine):
[Union] and Hough were fired because they were both horrible. The difference is Hough is a professional and didn’t play the race card when she was fired. If NBC and Cowell were actually racists, they wouldn't have hired a black man (Terry Crews) for next season. Union is going to find herself unemployable much like Monique because no one will want to deal with her toxic drama."
Gabrielle Union thanked social media fans for cheering her up after she lost her lucrative gig as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent last week.
Lovebscott.com first reported that Gabrielle and fellow new judge Julianne Hough would not be returning to the popular show after just one season, leaving fans to speculate over the reason for her dismissal.
Following reports of a "toxic" atmosphere on set regarding "racism" and "sexism", VAriety.com reported that the 47-year-old actress was offended by staffers complaints about her ethnic hairstyles.
Union took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank fans for their continued support, saying she was "lost" and all "alone" after being let go from her job.
"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," she tweeted.
While the mother-of-one and stepmother of four didn't address the NBC show directly, she went on to like a tweet from a reporter who mentioned she'd been "fired" from the franchise.
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Union spoke out after her retired NBA star husband Dwyane Wade shared his support for his wife by suggesting network bosses tried to pin a drop in viewership on the new judges.
"Men lie, Women lie, numbers don't," he tweeted, quoting lyrics by rapper Jay-Z, on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
Wade, 37, expressed surprise upon learning that Union was fired from the show. They thought for certain that being LGBT allies would elevate her status in Hollywood.
"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. So when i got the news that my wife was being fired - my first question was obviously why!? Iam (sic) still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she's an advocate for our community and culture."
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