Gabrielle Union is breaking her silence after she was let go as a judge on America's Got Talent for complaining about the "toxic" work environment. The outspoken 47-year-old actress lasted only one season on AGT before network bosses terminated her and fellow judge Julianne Hough, 31.
According to Variety.com, staffers at the NBC talent competition complained over "half a dozen times" about her various ethnic hairstyles.
Staffers reportedly complained about Union's hair weave products, telling the mother-of-one that her various hairstyles were "too black" for the show's audience.
But a network source denied that Union only received feedback about hair continuity during season 14.
The news was first reported by lovebscott.com that the Bring It On star and fellow judge Julianne Hough were dropped from AGT ahead of season 15. Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, who are Caucasian, and host Terry Crews, who is Black, are expected to return next season.
According to Variety.com, numerous incidents left Union uncomfortable - such as when guest judge Jay Leno allegedly made a racially insensitive joke while visiting the show's offices.
"Leno made a crack about a painting on display in a hallway of the show's Simon Cowell, surrounded by his dogs. Leno joked that the pets looked like something one would find 'on the menu at a Korean restaurant'," according to four people who were present at the time of Leno's wisecrack.
According to Variety, Union asked producers to report the incident to Human Resources but, following a conversation with a NBC executive, the matter was dropped.
Other incidents Union complained about included one involving a white male contestant, who wowed the audience with his quick changes between costumes. At one point, he donned dark make-up to look like the American singer Beyonce - which angered Union and caused her to object to the contestant being in the show.
The contestant was apparently still allowed to audition, but the audition was cut before the show aired.
The Variety report also claims that both Union and Hough (pictured) were consistently given "excessive notes on their physical experience," which had a big impact on their morale - particularly for Hough.
However, Hough, who wants to keep working in Hollywood, denied the claims in a statement to E! News, telling the outlet: "I 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."
Meanwhile, NBC hit back at the report in their own statement, which read: "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."