NBC has revealed that their investigation into claims of racial insensitivity and discrimination on the set of the their show, America’s Got Talent, is ongoing, and that they “take anyone’s critique who comes to work here incredibly seriously.” In November, the public was made aware of the “toxic culture” on set of AGT, after two of the competition show’s judges, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, did not have their contracts renewed. The two female judges were reportedly criticized for their appearances often, and Gabrielle was specifically told that the hairstyles she wore onscreen were “too black.” Furthermore, after Jay Leno made a racist remark towards Asian people during an AGT segment, Gabrielle tried to report the inappropriate joke. Her complaints were not taken seriously by higher-ups, and it was reported that she was ultimately fired for this reason.
NBC addressed the issue at the time, stating, “‘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.” After Gabrielle received plenty of public support, NBC initiated closed door meetings to discuss the issue with her. On December 4th, Gabrielle revealed on Twitter, “We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday. I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
This Saturday, President of NBC Entertainment, Paul Telegdy, provided an update on their investigation during NBC’s Television Critics Association press tour, indicating that it’s “being handled by lawyers” and that the results should be available “by the end of January.” “If we learn something, we’ll certainly put new practices in place, if necessary,” he added. Maintaining that AGT is “magnificent” despite these claims of discrimination, Paul said that he believes the show is “a place where you see lives changed forever.”