Actress Gabrielle Union has referenced the cases of Jimmy Fallon, Al Roker, Ted Danson, and her former America’s Got Talent fellow judge Julianne Hough in a harassment complaint filed this week against NBC and Simon Cowell.
Union, 47, claimed in November last year that, among other things, show insiders complained that her hairstyles were “too black” and it was reported that a young black contestant was removed from the show because it needed a performer that “America could get behind.”
The New York Post’s Page Six says new legal documents filed by Union call the network “a snake pit of racial offenses.”
The filing accuses NBC of hiring Hough as a judge alongside Union despite Hough's “widely publicized scandal for personally appearing in blackface,” referencing Hough’s 2013 Halloween costume when Hough dressed up as a black character from Orange Is the New Black.
The filing states the “decision to hire Hough has since proven to be a reflection of NBC’s true feelings about the African-American community and blackface.”
However, Page Six says an external report commissioned by NBC after Union was let go concluded it was down to a decrease in ratings and concerns over a lack of chemistry between the judges.
Union’s papers say, according to Page Six: “If NBC was so concerned about eradicating racism it would not continue remaining silent when confronted with racist behavior by its on-air talent, executives, and other employees, but would instead implement swift disciplinary action… Make no mistake, NBC is part of the problem. NBC’s current attitude towards racism can be deduced from its defense of those individuals who have appeared in blackface, including, but not limited to Julianne Hough, Jimmy Fallon, Fred Armisen, and Ted Danson (whom NBC hired multiple times even after he wore minstrel show blackface and used the ‘n-word’ publicly).”
Jimmy Fallon appeared in blackface on Saturday Night Live in 2000, for which he apologized on The Tonight Show last week.
In a statement, NBC Universal 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. NBC Universal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect. ”
Union, 47, recently told Variety she felt compelled to report a racist joke cracked by guest judge Jay Leno, but said that when she spoke up, she was cut from the show.