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Gabrielle Union Was Controversially Fired From America's Got Talent – Here's What Happened

It was recently announced that the actress would not be returning for the second season of America's Got Talent: The Champions.

The controversial move is currently being investigated following reports of a "toxic" culture on the show.

Gabrielle Union joined the variety show as a judge in February and allegedly dealt with problems from the offset. 

According to Variety, Union had raised concerns with producers and was fired after urging the show's producers to report an incident involving a racist joke to human resources and after producers told her multiple times that her hairstyles on the show were "too black."

As per Vulture, alleged workplace tension between Union and Simon Cowell also played a role – over Cowell's habit of smoking onset, which is illegal in California. CNN has not independently confirmed these allegations.

The actress only featured on the show for one season. 

NBC said in a statement to CNN on Monday they are working with Union to "hear more about her concerns."

Even if you don’t watch America’s Got Talent or pay attention to reality television in its many insidious forms, there are reasons to follow this story.

NBC hired Gabrielle Union knowing who she was: someone with moral standing and a long history of fighting injustice. 

Union is a longtime activist for survivors of sexual assault and has fought for various causes, from equal pay to Colin Kaepernick. At America’s Got Talent, the complaints she brought forward were all in the name of making the workplace more inclusive for everyone. 

Acknowledging this is Time's Up – the global union looking to support victims of abuse or disrespect in work that grew legs in the #MeToo era. 

The organisation has since expressed their support for Union in the wake of her controversial America's Got Talent exit.

Tina Tchen, president and chief executive officer of Time's Up Now, released a statement Monday stating, "Gabrielle Union's experience at 'America's Got Talent' is exemplary of the double bind that black women face at work."

"Not only did Union reportedly endure and witness racist and inappropriate behaviour -- including racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance -- but it also appears she was punished for speaking out: the company labelled her as 'difficult' before ousting her from the show altogether," the statement read.

"Union's story is deeply troubling on its own, but her experience is particularly problematic because it follows a pattern of NBCUniversal protecting the careers of powerful men at the expense of women who speak out."

NBC said in a statement to CNN on Monday they are working with Union to "hear more about her concerns."

"We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture," the statement read. "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."

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