Jane Lynch supports Gabrielle Union in NBC's 'America's Got Talent' controversy, as network announces formal investigation

Raechal ShewfeltEditor, Yahoo Entertainment
Jane Lynch attends the 2019 Amazon Prime Day Concert on July 10 in New York City. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jane Lynch attends the 2019 Amazon Prime Day Concert on July 10 in New York City. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Count Jane Lynch among the many recognizable names supporting Gabrielle Union in the wake of Union’s controversial departure from NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

“I don’t know so much about it, but what I do know about it is I’m really glad she’s standing up for herself,” Lynch told Variety on Tuesday at the New York City premiere of her show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. “From what I read — I didn’t read a lot of it — but it sounds like NBC, they’ve got to get their act together. They just really have to get their act together around women and around race. It just kind of feels like someone is asleep at the wheel over there.”

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The Glee alum was careful to say the network, which is home to the game show she’s hosted for six seasons, Hollywood Game Night, has always been “great” to her.

“So, you know, I just think there’s a blindness,” Lynch said.

Union served as a judge on the most recent season of the long-running reality competition, which began in May and wrapped up in September. Variety reported in November that the contracts of Union and Julianne Hough, another judge new to the show this season, would not be renewed, because they had complained of a “toxic culture.” The report alleged that, for example, guest star Jay Leno had made a racist joke and that the two women faced excessive criticism of their appearance; Union was reportedly told that her hair styles were “too black.”

As part of the fallout, the Time’s Up organization, as well as actors Ellen Pompeo, Debra Messing and Eva Longoria, have come to Union’s defense. Former AGT judges Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne have decried the atmosphere. Osbourne referred to it on The Talk as a “boys club” run by the show’s executive producer Simon Cowell, who also serves as a judge. SAG-AFTRA is investigating.

On the same day that Lynch gave her comments on the situation, NBC Nightly News reported that representatives of the Peacock Network would be sitting down with members of Union’s team this week to investigate her reports of a “toxic” work environment on the show.

Union said on social media that her complaints were heard in a five-hour meeting.

Then, NBC pledged to follow up the initial meeting with a deeper investigation.

“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” a network spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”

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