Following Variety’s report that Union, 47, was treated unfairly while working as an AGT judge, Sharon Osbourne opened up about her own experience on the popular series.
On Monday’s episode of The Talk, Osbourne, 67, said that she was on the show for six seasons without being fired, but she chose to leave in 2012 because of her own issues with NBC.
“I left. And that’s the truth. I left because NBC, not because of the show. I had my own problems with the network. I don’t know about any of her concerns about the show,” Osbourne said, recalling the claims made about Union’s experience. “Obviously, there wasn’t anybody of color on the panel when I was there. So, I honestly can’t say. But when I was there it was, you know, a great show to work on.”
“The crew and everybody was amazing to me, everybody, except the network,” Osbourne added.
Her remarks came days after Variety’s report claiming that Union expressed concern over racism and sexism on set, particularly when she and Julianne Hough were given “excessive notes” on their appearance and Union was told that her changing hairstyles were “too black.”
Union also reportedly complained about a joke made by Jay Leno when he was a guest judge on the show. His inappropriate remark allegedly made fun of Koreans and suggested they all eat dog meat.
Leno, 69, has not confirmed or denied those claims, but he did speak out this Sunday, December 1, following Variety’s report. When caught by paparazzi outside of the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California, the comedian simply said "I love Gabrielle Union. She's a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her.”
When asked by reporters if Union was treated unfairly at AGT, Leno replied “I don't know. She’s a great girl."
Union has stayed silent amid the madness, only sharing some emotional, cryptic tweets, thanking her fans for their love and support.
As of now, the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA is conducting an investigation into AGT and the network. NBC, meanwhile, has defended itself against all claims of racism and sexism, saying in a statement that it prides itself on its long history of “inclusivity and diversity.”