Gabrielle Union, who was a judge on “America’s Got Talent” in 2019, filed a harassment complaint Thursday in the state of California against the producers of the competition series and NBC. In addition to the complaint, she raised a new accusation that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy threatened her over speaking out against racism on set.
Union, through attorney Bryan Freedman, filed the complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), naming producers FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell’s Syco as well as NBCUniversal. The complaint states that Union, 47, was harassed and discriminated against because of her race, and experienced retaliation for reporting these problems.
“Union, a black woman, was singled out due to her physical appearance and discriminated against by NBC due to the fact that her hair did not fit within the white image that NBC apparently sought to convey to the audience of AGT,” the complaint states, adding that a network executive and a show producer allegedly “informed Union’s manager that her hair was ‘too wild’ and that it needed to be ‘toned down.’”
In a statement, a spokesperson for NBCUniversal said “the allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue. We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.”