Gabrielle Union reportedly called for Jay Leno to be reported over an offensive joke he made while recording ‘America’s Got Talent’.
The 47-year-old actress – who, along with Julianne Hough, is to leave the panel of the talent show after just one season – urged an NBC executive to speak with the human resources department at the network after the former talk show host quipped Simon Cowell’s dogs looked like something found “on the menu at a Korean restaurant”.
According to Variety, many who were present for the taping, especially the “very few Asian staffers”, were offended by the line, which was spoken directly to camera, so Gabrielle urged producers to report it.
She felt production needed to understand why the joke might offend the staff and audience and though the line was ultimately cut from what was shown on TV, the matter wasn’t brought to HR’s attention.
And that wasn’t the only complaint the ‘L.A.’s Finest’ actress made about “racially insensitive” matters on ‘AGT’.
Insiders telling Variety about a “toxic culture” at the show recalled how Gabrielle and other members of staff shared concerns about a white male auditionee whose act involved rapid costume changes into famous singers, with one meant to be an impersonation of Beyonce Knowles with black hands.
According to the sources, the judge “immediately” advised a segment producer and an executive producer to remove the contestant from the line-up but they declined and said: “We’ll take it out later”.
However, Gabrielle pushed further and insisted the studio audience shouldn’t be subjected to seeing the act, but he still made it to the stage and his audition was later cut from the episode.
Show producers insist they embrace “inclusivity and diversity”.
NBC and Fremantle said in a statement: “‘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 line-up 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.”