Tyra Banks is praising Gabrielle Union for speaking her truth following the former judge’s exit from NBC’s America’s Got Talent (AGT).
Until now, Union’s claims of having to work in a toxic, sexist, and racist environment were met with contradictory statements from her AGT alumni and current talent. Model Heidi Klum was one of the first people to speak out, saying that her time at AGT was near exemplary.
“I’ve only had an amazing experience. I can’t speak for (Union). I didn’t experience the same thing,” she said. “To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I’ve never seen anything that was weird or hurtful.”
Then, Terry Crews received backlash for speaking out about the controversy, saying in an interview on The 3rd Hour of Today that he never experienced racist comments.
“In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment,” he said.
Unlike Crews, Banks, a former AGT alum who sat as a host from 2017-2018, said that while she was not “immersed in the culture” of the show, she supports Union’s experience. Banks contended that Union handled her departure with grace and strength.
“What I love about what she did is she was very vulnerable. I wasn’t super close to it, but I saw some of her tweets,” Banks said in an interview with Yahoo News. “I thought it was beautiful…how she wasn’t speaking in anger, she’s speaking in pain like ‘I’m trying to get through this…and I’m crying.’”
RELATED: Was Gabrielle Union Fired From ‘America’s Got Talent’ For Speaking Out Against Racism and Sexism?
After a Variety report claimed the show perpetuated a toxic work environment, Union tweeted that she had met with network execs as part of an internal investigation in December.
“I just thought that was really beautiful. Because a lot of times in entertainment, you have to put up this front – ‘I’m strong, and I’m this, and I was wronged,'” Banks said. “She was so vulnerable… And I also thought that it was beautiful that her husband really supported her as well.”
Union has since had a meeting with NBC network officials to address her concerns, while SAG-AFTRA officials have launched their own investigation into her firing.
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