Gabrielle Union Addresses Racism In Entertainment Industry & Beyond: “You Can’t Put A Band-Aid On A Gunshot”

Trevor Noah Gabrielle Union
Comedy Central

UPDATED: Gabrielle Union talked with Trevor Noah about racism in the entertainment industry and beyond, and her recent discrimination complaint she filed against NBCUniversal and America’s Got Talent producers on The Daily Show Tuesday.

Union, who alleges she was fired as a judge from AGT because she had complained of racism and other issues, told Noah that the people at the top have to be held accountable.

“We have been so committed as an industry — I mean, and every industry is facing the same thing– with going along to get along, trying to figure out how you work around the bad apples as opposed to addressing and making those bad apples accountable and their being real consequences,” said Union.

“I’m about labor, for treating employees fairly, nobody’s asking for anything special..just treat people fairly,” Union said. “Have mechanisms in place so when things happen, there are consequences.”

Union continued, “In front of and behind the camera, there has to be an increase in representation from across the board, from the top to the bottom — who gets to make the decisions of which projects to green light, who is a part of those development processes, who gets to determine budgets.

We have to be able to be okay with change that doesn’t always benefit us,” Union said. “Some people believe that leadership — the only way to lead — is to center yourself in every argument. What I’m learning throughout this whole process is sometimes the best way to lead is to get out of the way and make room for someone else. You have to dismantle the whole thing. You can’t put a Band-Aid on a gunshot.”

Below is a statement, previously released by NBC and producers Fremantle and Syco, on Union’s allegations:

We have a shared passion to make America’s Got Talent a positive, inclusive and diverse show that is open to all individuals from any country or background. We are proud and grateful that our contestants and audiences support our ongoing mission, which is represented in the incredible people who participate in the show each year. We have heard from contestants and talent alike that their experience on AGT has had a positive impact on their lives. When we heard Ms. Union had concerns about her time on the show, we took them extremely seriously.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco immediately engaged an outside investigator who conducted more than 30 interviews to review the issues raised by Ms. Union. While the investigation has demonstrated an overall culture of diversity, it has also highlighted some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.

Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms. Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time. The investigation has shown that the concerns raised by Ms. Union had no bearing on the decision not to exercise the option on her contract.

NBC, Fremantle and Syco share Ms. Union’s dedication to diversity and inclusion in the industry. We continue to remain committed to having an inclusive environment for everyone associated with the show, and to upholding AGT as one of the most diverse programs on television.

You can watch the entire interview above.

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