In reaction to all the controversy generated by the firing of Gabrielle Union from America’s Got Talent, SAG-AFTRA is now investigating the show.
Union was fired after a single season on the show, which was its 14th, and some believe that it had something to do with complaints that she made about an alleged toxic working atmosphere on the show. This centered around a joke that Jay Leno told during an appearance that Union and others felt was racist. Other similar incidents also reportedly occurred. There were also complaints relating to a preoccupation many on the show had in regards to Union’s physical appearance.
Leno apparently quipped a joke likening Simon Cowell’s dogs to something “on the menu at a Korean restaurant,” sparking outcry from Asian staffers.
Actress Julianne Hough, who also complained about the working atmosphere on the show, was fired, too.
The union issued a statement in conjunction with the probe. They said, “We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously. While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now.”
Sources inside the union have told Deadline that, while they plan to meticulously investigate the charges made against the show, they also plan on doing so in a timely manner due to the gravity of the situation.
NBC also issued a statement regarding the controversy, though not regarding the investigation itself.
The network said, “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.”
The statement seems to imply that NBC is or will be conducting their own investigation into the matter.
At the same time, they said, in reaction to SAG-AFTRA’s investigation, that they have nothing further to add “beyond the statement we sent this morning.”