Gabrielle Union and NBC Reach Resolution Over 'America's Got Talent' Complaint

Gabrielle Union at the "America's Got Talent" Season 14 Finale
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

The actress filed a harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint in June.

Gabrielle Union and NBC have reached an "amicable resolution" after the actress filed a harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint against the network, Simon Cowell, Fremantle and Syco Entertainment with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing in Los Angeles in June, following her exit from America's Got Talent.

In Union's complaint filed by attorney Bryan Freedman and obtained by ET, she claimed NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy tried to "silence and intimidate" her. Union requested an immediate right to sue, which she was granted. The actress has spoken out about what she called the "toxic work environment" she was subjected to during her time on AGT, which lasted one season.

On Tuesday, NBC and Union shared a joint statement that they've reached a resolution.

"We've reached an amicable resolution," the statement reads. "NBC Entertainment appreciates the important concerns raised by Gabrielle Union and remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds can be treated with respect."

Back in June, NBC released a statement to ET calling Union's claim that she was threatened by Telegdy "categorically untrue."

"The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue," the statement reads. "We took Ms. Union's concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect."  

Meanwhile, a rep for Union provided ET with a statement at the time on behalf of Union's attorney, Freedman, noting, "It's very telling that NBC fails to substantively address the DFEH complaint that Ms. Union filed based on racial discrimination. Instead, NBC wants to try and play word games by saying that their Chairman, Paul Telegdy did not directly threaten Gabrielle Union. NBC of course ignores Paragraph 5 of the DFEH complaint which specifically states: 'On or about February 4, 2020, Telegdy threatened Union through her agent and warned Union’s agent that Union had better cease from pursuing her claims of racism while filming AGT.'"

"To hide behind the fact that Telegdy did not call her directly but her agent instead does not absolve him from his wrongful conduct," the statement continued. "Should Mr. Telegdy wish to see phone records or call sheets from the date of his threat, we can make those available for the world to see. It is frankly sad but not surprising that, rather than addressing its own racial discrimination, NBC wants to try and avoid the systemic issues that permeate its company."

The 47-year-old actress was a judge on season 14 of the NBC talent show before her departure in November 2019. A Variety report later claimed that Union had expressed concern about the show's "toxic culture" to NBC's human resources department. Although NBC and Fremantle responded to the report at the time with a statement praising AGT's long history of "inclusivity and diversity" and said that Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough's exits were part of the routine cycling out of judges on the show, Union's husband, Dwyane Wade, claimed on Twitter that she was fired.

In May, Union spoke with Variety about her experience on AGT, which she said included being subjected to racist jokes and acts. She also said that the problems started right from her first moments on set, when Cowell smoked in front of her even though she's severely allergic. She claimed she addressed it with producers, who said that nothing was going to be done -- even though it directly affected her ability to do her job. However, Cowell's spokesperson told Variety that when he was made aware of the smoking complaint during the first couple of days of the season, he "immediately changed his behavior and the issue was never raised again."

Union told the outlet that she struggled with the decision to speak out about her concerns.

"I had to look at myself and say, 'Do you want to keep it easy? Or do you want to be you, and stand up?'" she recalled. "Because I'm not the only one being poisoned at work."

"At the end of all this, my goal is real change -- and not just on this show but for the larger parent company," she continued. "It starts from the top down. My goal is to create the happiest, most high-functioning, inclusive, protected and healthy example of a workplace."

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