Gabrielle Union: Howard Stern says Simon Cowell to blame for her America’s Got Talent exit

Howard Stern Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum judging on America's Got Talent
Howard Stern Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum judging on America’s Got Talent. Pic credit: America’s Got Talent / YouTube

Howard Stern has joined in with the drama surrounding the controversial departure of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough from America’s Got Talent. Basically, the former judge has laid all the blame on the show’s creator, Simon Cowell.

The shock jock took to his SiriusXM radio show to complain that Cowell has turned  AGT into a “boy’s club.” Implicating Cowell in Gabrielle’s departure, he said: “He [Cowell] sets  it up that the men stay no matter how ugly [the men] are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are.”

Stern further complained, “What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replace the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks, which is so obvious.”

He praised long-time judge Howie Mandel for “doing a fine serviceable job” but questioned why they hadn’t replaced him or Cowell. Particularly when “the three women had to go: Tyra Banks, Mel B., Heidi Klum, and they find two younger, hotter women.”

“This is the ultimate example of a boys club,” said Stern. Stern appeared on the show for 4 seasons, Mandel has now done 6 seasons.

The controversy began when news emerged that Union would not be returning for another season. Her leaving coincided with reports that a toxic culture infests the popular variety show.

Reports told of racist and offensive jokes being the norm on set. These same reports also suggested female stars, such as Union and Hough, had been criticized for their physical appearance and had been ignored when they raised concerns about inappropriate behavior.

The backlash against the NBC network and AGT has been gathering pace. Last week a number of stars came out in a show of solidarity for Gabrielle Union and lambasted the network for not acting to prevent discriminatory and offensive behavior.

Ariana Grande, Ellen Pompeo, and Jameela Jamil, among others, have all spoken out.

The screen actors guild SAG-AFTRA has announced it is investigating Union’s departure from the show. Time’s Up president Tina Tchen has also spoken out on behalf of Union’s treatment, saying what she experienced “was deeply troubling.”

AGT producers Freemantle and Syco have stated that they “remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture” and “are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

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