Gabrielle Union details racist treatment on ‘America’s Got Talent’

(LOS ANGELES) — Gabrielle Union may have just ended a lengthy battle over the alleged racist treatment she received while working as a judge on America’s Got Talent, but that doesn’t mean she’s done talking about it. 

In a new interview with Marie Claire, the longtime actress dished the details about the various incidents which prompted her to file a formal complaint.

Union, 47, explained to the magazine that she was subject to a series of “microaggressions” with a lot of them having to do with her appearance. She claimed the show’s producers gave her “excessive notes” and called her hairstyles “too wild,” which she interpreted as code for “too Black.” 

“That is the beauty of being a Black woman,” she proclaimed. “I should be able to exist however the [expletive] I want to exist, because if you’re hiring Gabrielle Union for my talent, then my talent is going to come out of my body in every way, shape, and incarnation that I can imagine. You’re getting more bang for your buck the more you allow me to exist as I see fit.”

The Bring It On alum also had to endure a toxic work environment which included incidents like Simon Cowell’s blatant disregard for her allergy to cigarette smoke and insensitive jokes targeting Asians made by guest judge Jay Leno.

Union added that “racist institutions and systems” are largely what keeps many from speaking out on these issues — out of fear of being blackballed. But with age, she shared that she feels “liberated.”

“They want you to feel like ‘It’s not me, it’s you, you’re crazy, you’re doing something that’s causing this, you are complicit,'” she said. “You are not going to gaslight me into minimizing my trauma, which is exactly what allows this to continue on for the next person.”

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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