NBC 'Working With' Gabrielle Union After Her Controversial 'AGT' Exit

Meaghan Darwish
Trae Patton/NBC

During the most recent season of America's Got Talent, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough joined the judging panel, only to abruptly depart after Season 14 wrapped. New insights are now revealing why that may be as a "toxic" work environment could be at least partially responsible.

Initially, Union and Hough had each signed a three-year contract with NBC, but the network passed on renewing their contracts for a second year. But what could caused the two to be let go from the reality competition series? Well, according to Variety, it began when Union reported a joke made by guest judge Jay Leno to the higher-ups.

Leno reportedly made a remark about Korean and Asian culture that Union did not deem acceptable, however her complaints seemed to go unaddressed.

According to LoveBScott, insiders say Union's contract "was not renewed after being the #1 talent on the show, NBC and network TV. She set the record for her Golden Buzzer. They only replace the women and blacks at Simon [Cowell]'s whim. She wouldn't walk away from $12 million because she's busy."

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Signs of off-screen issues have been hinted at by former host Nick Cannon who alluded to a toxic behind-the-scenes culture after his exit from the series. And the departures of former female judges Mel B. and Heidi Klum along with brief host Tyra Banks don't help the situation.

Since the controversy over Union's exit has been brought to light, Fremantle and Syco — the companies behind America's Got Talent — issued a new statement claiming they're looking into the situation.

(Credit: Trae Patton/NBC)

According to Deadline, the statement reads, "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."

No further statements have been released at this time, but stay tuned for any possible developments as the situation unfolds.