Sources said Julianne Hough, who also served as a judge on the show during the 14th season, also often received critiques about her appearance as well.
But Hough, who has two shows with NBC set to be released soon, said the allegations were false and she told Variety, “I had a wonderful time on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ I loved working with the cast, crew and producers.”
Multiple sources also said Union complained about racism on more than one occasion during the show’s production.
One of those alleged incidents involved comedian Jay Leno. According to Variety, Leno shot a segment for the show’s 14th season, which aired from late May to mid-September, as a guest judge in April.
Sources told the magazine that Leno made a joke during the segment about a painting of Simon Cowell, who serves as an executive producer and judge on the show, and his dogs. The insiders alleged that the comedian joked that the dogs looked like they could have been “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” But Gabrielle Union cautioned him for the joke, which had reportedly been removed from the segment by the time it aired. Another source confirmed the incident involving Leno to The Hollywood Reporter.
Gabrielle Union also allegedly spoke up about an incident during the season’s production in which a white contestant made his hands look black while impersonating Beyoncé Knowles for an audition.
Gabrielle hasn’t confirmed the reports that her exit from AGT might have to do with racism but her husband, Dwyane Wade seemed to hint at that as he defended Gabrielle on Twitter.
He wrote: “So 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.
He added in another tweet: “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.
“So [cheers] to you @itsgabrielleu on not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter and for kicking ass while you were on that platform. Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world??”