Heidi Klum has weighed in on the drama surrounding Gabrielle Union's departure from America's Got Talent. The model, who served as a judge on AGT for six seasons, told reporters at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour Tuesday she "only had an amazing experience" at the NBC show.
"I can’t speak for [Gabrielle]," she added, while promoting her new Amazon series Making the Cut. "I didn’t experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with utmost respect. I’ve never seen anything that was weird or hurtful."
Klum, who is back at the judges table for the AGT spinoff show Champions, was asked if she had seen or heard anything racist during her time working on the NBC show.
"Nothing," she replied, according to USA Today. She added that she didn't feel like there was a big focus on her wardrobe or appearance.
In November, a Variety report claimed Union and Julianne Hough — who were not brought back as judges for Season 15 after only one season — received excessive notes about their physical appearance. Hough, who had two NBC specials in the works, denied the claims while Union didn't comment on specifics. The report also detailed a toxic environment on set as Union was allegedly fired after she clashed with Simon Cowell. NBC confirmed an investigation was launched after a productive meeting with Union.
"I loved it. Of course, there’s always this cat and dog fight. But just fun. You kind of say something silly. Also, it’s like, you got to relax a little bit," she said. "I want to entertain people. I want to have a good time. I want people to go away from their life for a few hours and just have fun and enjoy."
Klum defended the environment and Cowell, who is both a judge and the show's executive producer. She gave an example about how Cowell would joke around on set.
"If there's a girl on stage and she's a beautiful girl … and I said, 'I didn't love the act so much, I think you're gorgeous and this and that,' and he’s like, 'Meow!' I think that’s funny, because I understand the joke, because normally girls are catty and it’s like, 'Oh, maybe I don't like the girl on the stage because she's beautiful,'" she said. "But, like relax! It’s a joke."
Over the weekend, NBC Entertainment Chief Paul Telegdy said NBCUniversal’s investigation at America’s Got Talent should wrap up by the end of January.
"I’m very confident that if we learn something… we will put new practices into place if necessary, and we certainly take anyone’s critique of what it means to come to work here incredibly seriously," he said at a TCA panel.
It hasn't been announced who will take a seat at the judges table next to Cowell and Howie Mandel. When asked about Union's replacement, Telegdy responded that "inclusion is about celebrating; diversity is occasionally a numbers game linked to the Census." He added, "We take both incredibly seriously."
Watch this 13-year-old’s haunting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ performance stun the AGT judges:
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