Following the news that Gabrielle Union and Juliana Hough would not be returning as judges for the next season of America’s Got Talent, the network has come under serious speculation regarding racial and gender insensitivity. Gabrielle Union spoke publicly earlier this month about a lack of racial inclusivity and high expectations placed on physical appearances for Union and Hough, and claims that while being on the show she requested environmental changes to create a more cohesive and respectable work life. About a week later, the two judges were fired from the show.
Though it could be purely coincidental timing, it seems interesting and ill-timed for the network even if it is just a coincidence. The Simon Cowell show is entering into its 15th season and claims much of its success is in fact due to its ever-rotating panel of judges and that this is just part of their success.
In regards to Union’s claims, an NBC and Freemantle production company representative has said: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show… NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”
It doesn’t seem like these issues were taken very seriously though as Union felt it necessary to go to the press and to engage actively in an on-going conversation online about the scandal.