Gabrielle Union Files Discrimination Complaint, Says NBC Chairman Threatened Her

by Raheem Karim
Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union Alleges Racism Against NBC Chairman

Gabrielle Union has filed a complaint of employment discrimination against production companies Fremantle and Syco, NBCUniversal and Simon Cowell after reporting alleged racist behavior on the set of “America’s Got Talent.”

Union released a statement on Thursday on claims that the network retaliated against her when she expressed concerns about “acts of racism” she experienced on NBC’s program “America’s Got Talent.”


“When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of racially offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not ‘stand’ with her in ‘outrage at acts of racism,’” read the statement from Union’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, referencing NBC’s social-media pledge to “stand with our black employees.”

“Instead, NBC did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved. Rather, NBC stood against her and directed its ‘outrage’ at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced.”

Union exited “America’s Got Talent” in 2019 after serving as a judge for one season. She accused the chairman of NBC Entertainment, Paul Telegdy, of threatening her when she spoke up about a toxic environment and “secretly planning to undermine” the external investigation launched into her claims.

“In sharp contrast to NBC’s recent statement on race, what was truly an ‘outrage’ was the fact that Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, actually threatened Ms. Union in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show,” Freedman’s statement continues.

“There is no place for this type of racial bullying in the workplace, and it is going to take more than a Tweet from NBC to demonstrate that NBC intends to create an environment free from racism.”

NBC denied Union’s claims Thursday afternoon in a statement provided to The Times.

“The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue,” the statement read. “We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.

“NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.”

Gabrielle Union’s attorney responded immediately.

“It’s very telling that NBC fails to substantively address the DFEH complaint that Ms. Union filed based on racial discrimination,” Freedman wrote in a statement. “Instead, NBC wants to try and play word games by saying that their Chairman, Paul Telegdy did not directly threaten Gabrielle Union.

“NBC of course ignores Paragraph 5 of the DFEH complaint which specifically states: ‘On or about February 4, 2020, Telegdy threatened Union through her agent and warned Union’s agent that Union had better cease from pursuing her claims of racism while filming AGT.’

“To hide behind the fact that Telegdy did not call her directly but her agent instead does not absolve him from his wrongful conduct. Should Mr. Telegdy wish to see phone records or call sheets from the date of his threat, we can make those available for the world to see. It is frankly sad but not surprising that, rather than addressing its own racial discrimination, NBC wants to try and avoid the systemic issues that permeate it’s company.”

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