Gabrielle Union calls for ‘more changes’ after NBC pledge to protect staff

The actress has responded to the network's pledge to protect employees and foster a safer work environment.

(Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)

Gabrielle Union has responded to NBC’s pledge to protect employees and foster a safer work environment.

A company wide memo sent Tuesday by NBCUniversal TV and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus detailed plans to prevent “discrimination and harassment” on in-house programming and productions from third-party suppliers, New York Daily News reports.

The lengthy memo reads, in part: 

To support this effort, we have started to provide our third-party production partners with a variety of additional resources that reflect those provided to our in-house productions, including: respectful workplace policies, training materials tailored to the various types of production, and additional channels through which workers can report workplace concerns, including Comcast NBCUniversal Listens, which allows for anonymous reporting.

Read More: Gabrielle Union reveals more about her time on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and what happens next

Union reacted to the statement on Twitter, writing: “Great start by NBC to recognize the need to not turn away & ignore racial & gender discrimination on programs like #AGT,” she tweeted.

“More changes are needed however like stopping executives from intimidating talent from sharing their experience of racism in their own workplace investigations,” the actress added.

The increased efforts come amid Union’s complaint against NBC and Fremantle, alleging producers created a “toxic culture” on the set of the music competition series America’s Got Talent

Fremantl, a third-party supplier, opted to not renew Union’s contract as co-judge on the series after a one-season run last November.

She shared details of her allegations of racial insensitivity on the show with host Trevor Noah last month on his Daily Social Distancing Show. Union also opened up about the subsequent investigation. 

“I decided to participate in this investigation. They’re like ‘We’re going to commission this independent investigation,’” she said. “Well, silly me, I thought independent was independent, but when NBC and Fremantle and Syco paid for that investigation, they control it.”

Read More: Union files complaint against NBC, ‘America’s Got Talent’

“With ‘AGT,’ trying to work within a system of… I thought it was the easiest show! How hard is it to, you know, watch jugglers? That’s what I thought I signed up for. Day one, you know, Simon Cowell is smoking cigarettes inside. I’ve worked a long time, I’ve worked with all kinds of people, I’ve never experienced that,” she told Noah.

“So, when your boss, the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities and who doesn’t, doesn’t believe the law applies to him or the rules apply to him and he does it in full view of NBC, Fremantle and Syco and no one cares about Simon Cowell exposing all of these employees to second-hand smoke. That’s day one, that’s within the first hour,” Union continued.

“What message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and the lack of accountability? And it goes on and on and on.”

In the company memo, Lazarus noted that “Promoting a positive culture is an ongoing effort, and with this commitment, we are confident that we will be able to promote a positive and respectful work environment across all productions.”

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