On Monday's episode of The Howard Stern Show, Stern ripped into America's Got Talent's creator and judge, Simon Cowell. According to Stern, Cowell "orchestrated" the release of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough because he's always looking to add "hotter chicks and younger chicks" to the judging panel.
"How is it that Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?" Stern said. "He sets it up that the men stay, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are."
Stern was a judge on America's Got Talent for four seasons (2012-2015). The show is known for rotating judges with Howie Mandel being the series most seasoned judge, joining the cast in 2010. When the news broke that Union and Hough would not be returning for another season, reports started to surface that disclosed America's Got Talent's toxic work environment.
Cowell and NBC reportedly gave Union and Hough "excessive notes" on their physical appearance. Sources say that Union was repeatedly told that her hair and makeup were "too black" for the show. Union also made several complaints regarding the environment's racial insensitivity including a conversation with human resources about an offensive joke made by guest judge, Jay Leno. Those close to the show believe that this and other rifts with Cowell led NBC to release her from her contract.
Following this news, multiple celebrities have come out in support of Gabrielle Union. Patricia Arquette even asked for SAG-AFTRA to investigate the situation. The president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now, Tina Tchen, also released a statement regarding Union's departure from America's Got Talent.
"Union’s story is deeply troubling on its own, but her experience is particularly problematic because it follows a pattern of NBCUniversal protecting the careers of powerful men at the expense of women who speak out," the statement reads. "Union’s experience shows that NBCUniversal still has a lot of work to do to change its culture so discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are no longer tolerated at the company. Building a culture of safety and equity requires continuous, intentional work sustained over a long period of time – even when a company isn’t in the throes of a crisis."