As we reported here in November, Gabrielle Union was unexpectedly fired from her judge role on season 14 of NBC’s hit reality talent show, ‘America’s Got Talent’ – move that led the actress to express concerns about the show’s ‘toxic work culture’ to the network’s Human Resources department.
After NBC initially responded to Union’s claims with a statement that praised the series’ long history of “inclusivity and diversity,” the official investigation – made public this month as we reported here – found her claims to have no merit.
The investigation’s findings came ahead of the ‘Being Mary Jane’ star’s first publicized interview about her time on the show, featured on the most recent edition of ‘Variety.’
Look inside read highlights from her statement:
Union took to ‘Variety’ to discuss how she felt ‘AGT’s work environment was ‘toxic’ from the start as the show’s creator and fellow judge, Simon Cowell, smoked in front of her despite knowing she’s allergic.
She claims she addressed the issue with producers, but said nothing was done as a result.
“[I was] coming on to a set and you are literally met with the very definition of a toxic work environment, and it’s being carried out by the most powerful person on the production,” she says of Cowell’s smoking. “I couldn’t escape. I ended up staying sick for two months straight. It was a cold that lingered, and turned into bronchitis, because I couldn’t shake it. It impacted my voice, which affects my ability to do my job.”
She continued by stating:
“It was challenging to tend to my illness without being made to feel like I’m responsible for my own sickness,” she says. “It put me in a position from day one where I felt othered. I felt isolated. I felt singled out as being difficult, when I’m asking for basic laws to be followed. I want to come to work and be healthy and safe and listened to.”
Click here to read the full interview.