In light of a recent report that claimed the former America’s Got Talent judge was fired from the NBC competition series for speaking out against several alleged incidents of racism on set, Ellen took to Twitter with a message for the network.
“It’s unfortunate that @nbc the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it… has not changed their practices or culture,” the Grey’s Anatomy star tweeted, referencing the Today host’s 2017 firing for alleged sexual misconduct. “I support @itsgabrielleu commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage.”
Pompeo continued, “This is a teaching moment.. It’s important..white girls I’m talking to you..whether you truly understand what racial injustice is or not..that you stand with your sisters on the front lines. Don’t cut side deals & don’t not get involved because it isn’t your issue..because it is workplace cultures will continue to be toxic until there is unity and solidarity among all women.”
“If you go for self in these moments you undermine the work we are out here trying to do. Obviously this network feels like they can operate like this and it’s okay,” she shared online.
Among the incidents published by Variety, Union was reportedly told that her hairstyles were “too black” for America’s Got Talent viewers. Additionally, the report claimed that Union expressed concern over a racially insensitive joke made by guest judge Jay Leno, which Variety claimed was ultimately edited out from the episode.
A spokesperson for NBC and production company Fremantle denied the report, telling E! News 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.”
Meanwhile, Union has since addressed the controversy surrounding her departure with a heartfelt message to her fans.
“So many tears, so much gratitude,” she wrote on Twitter. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”
The Bring It On star’s supporters also include Ariana Grande, who tweeted, “thank you for this @EllenPompeo. be better @nbc. we’re with you @gabrielleu.”
Union’s husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, also sounded off on her apparent ousting. He tweeted earlier this week, “…when I got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? I am still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.”
“As proud as i were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT— I am even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US,” he added.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)