Gabrielle Union’s one-season stint as a judge on America’s Got Talent was nothing to write home about — at least not behind-the-scenes, according to a new report.
Variety claimed on Tuesday, November 26, that staffers at the NBC talent competition complained more than half a dozen times about the actress’ physical appearance, telling her that her various hairstyles were “too black” for the show’s audience. A network source, however, rebutted that Union, 47, only received feedback about hair continuity during season 14.
News broke last week that the Bring It On star and fellow judge Julianne Hough were dropped from AGT ahead of season 15. Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel and host Terry Crews, meanwhile, are expected to return.
Union has not publicly addressed the speculation, but Variety’s report further alleged that producers opted not to renew her contract after she voiced concern over an offensive joke made by guest star Jay Leno. The former late-night host, 69, allegedly quipped about Cowell’s dogs being “on the menu at a Korean restaurant,” which Union reportedly felt should have been flagged to human resources.
The magazine also claimed that Hough, 31, had been subjected to critiques about her hair, makeup and wardrobe on set, although she denied the allegations.
“I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent. I loved working with the cast, crew and producers,” the dancer said in a statement. “I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC. … I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
NBC and Fremantle released a statement to Us Weekly on Tuesday in response to the report: “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 lineup 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.”
Union and Hough had joined the series earlier this year after longtime judges Mel B and Heidi Klum left to pursue other career opportunities.
Us Weekly has reached out to Union’s rep for comment.
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