In late November it was revealed that actress Gabrielle Union had been fired from her spot as a judge on the NBC show America’s Got Talent, but troubling reports of her exit have caused everyone from Janelle Monae to Howard Stern to weigh in on the controversy. Here’s a complete timeline of everything we know.
November 22, 2019 – Variety Magazine announces NBC will not renew Union’s contract
In addition to Union’s exit, it is revealed fellow judge Julianne Hough will also not be returning to the popular television show. Male judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and Terry Crews all expected to remain on the roster.
November 24, 2019 – News of ‘toxic culture’ at AGT hits the internet
Sources with direct knowledge of the culture at AGT describe the now-infamous joke that put Union at odds with show producers. During a guest appearance, comedian Jay Leno joked that a picture of Simon Cowell with his dogs reminded him of something “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” The actress learned of the joke and explained to producers this joke would not be well-received particularly by Asian crewmembers and viewers. She reportedly urged producers and an unnamed NBC executive to scrap the offensive joke and report it to the network’s human resources department. The line was ultimately thrown out, but a formal report or complaint was never filed with HR.
Further reports emerged describing Union and Hough receiving “excessive notes” on their appearance, with Union in particular getting regularly coached on her hairstyles being “too black.”
November 26, 2019 – Julianne Hough and NBC deny allegations
Julianne Hough released a statement claiming she “loved working with the cast, crew, and producers and the claims are not “accurate to her experience.” She goes on to say “I am happy continuing my working relationship with NBC.”
The network echoed her statement with a vehement denial of all allegations.
November 28, 2019 – Celebrities show support for Union
As the news of NBC’s culture made its waves, celebrities voiced their support for Union. Stars like Janelle Monae, Ellen Pompeo, and democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro, among many, voiced their opinions on the matter in favor of the ousted actress.
It’s unfortunate that @nbc the same network that protected disgusting men like Matt Lauer and punished women for speaking out or not putting up with it…has not changed their practices or culture. I support @itsgabrielleu commitment to speaking up to injustice. It takes courage— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) November 28, 2019
December 1, 2019 – Jay Leno speaks out, NBC releases new statement
The comedian at the center of the alleged racist joke spoke of nothing but his fondness of Union. “I love Gabrielle Union, she’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her.” When asked whether he uttered the joke on the NBC show, he refused to answer.
For its part, NBC released a new statement vowing commitment to “ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees.” The network also stated it is working with the actress’ representatives to hear her concerns and address them as necessary.
December 2, 2019 – Howard Stern gives his two cents
To add fuel to Union’s fire, Stern made very choice comments on his show seemingly backing up Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough and trashing Simon Cowell. “He sets it up so 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… He constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks.”
Phew! That was a lot to keep up with and somehow we have a feeling this drama isn’t over yet. Only time will tell how steep the fallout will be. What do you think about all this? Give us your thoughts below.
Rolling Ray Undergoes Surgery After Wig Catches On Fire
Social media star Rolling Ray underwent surgery Tuesday morning to treat serious burns on his body after his terrible wig accident last week.
In a series of IG stories, he let his audience follow along as he prepped for surgery.
Last week Rolling Ray announced he was hospitalized after his wig caught on fire! During a January 13 Instagram Live session hosted straight from his hospital bedside, he showed his severely burnt and damaged face telling viewers his “whole skin, legs, arms, feet, and everything” were burned.
In a more recent Live, Ray explained the incident that led to his whole wig catching on fire: an unfortunate smoking accident. “It just, like, lit on fire when I tried to light the cigarette,” he recounted. “So I get to trying to snatch the wig off. B***h, the fire goes to my f*****g shirt, to my feet, to my legs, to my back. It’s a fire everywhere, it’s a fire in the whole room.”
Of course the internet trolled him in a disgusting display of ableism and heartlessness. Comments like “Rolling Ray should have stopped, dropped, and rolled” and “karma’s a b***h” had social media conflicted in its feelings about his accident. His sensation comes from his harsh and, often, below-the-belt reads (just last month he told Yung Miami to “dig (sic) up” her dead baby father. However, the criticism didn’t stop him from responding on Twitter.
Rolling Ray might be problematic as all get-out, but we do not tolerate ableism here. We wish him well as he heals.
Fantasia Reveals Gender of Baby On the Way!
On Tuesday singer-songwriter and “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino took to social media to reveal that she is having a baby girl, her first child with husband Kendall Taylor.
In a series of Instagram stories, Fantasia showed pink fireworks being shot off during a gender reveal party, to her and her hubby’s excitement! She continued by sharing what her daughter-to-be’s name will be: Keziah London Taylor.
The news comes after the couple revealed they had struggled to conceive since their 2015 marriage. During a November episode of her IG Live show “Taylor Talks,” she described continuously praying for a child with her husband. Fantasia, a deeply devout Christian, was obviously elated when she shared the news.
“God I Want To Thank You!” she said in an Instagram caption. “You Gave Us A Seed even when the Doctor said that one of my Tubes [was] Closed you said Different. @salute1st I Love You King and I can’t wait to see who He or She acts Like.”
We can see Fantasia and family are all super excited to be welcoming a baby girl into their lives. All congratulations to her.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Getting Divorced, Report Says
In a story published Tuesday evening, Page Six is reporting that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are getting divorced, with the two already in settlement talks. The news comes after the couple spent the holiday season separately – Kanye at his ranch outside Cody, Wyoming, Kim and the kids with her famous family in southern California.
A source close to Kardashian was quoted saying, “Kim got Kanye to go up there so they could live separate lives and quietly get things sorted out to separate and divorce. She’s done.” Kardashian, 40, and West, 43, are said to be splitting because of marital problems directly related to Kanye’s very public mental health struggles.
For several years the rapper’s various antics have caused fans to worry. After coming out as a Trump supporter, West then announced his own 2020 presidential bid under a new political party: the Birthday Party. At a campaign rally in South Carolina, he was seen rambling, debating individual audience members, and at times, crying. In various interviews, he has rambled on almost incoherently, and his tweetstorms are now infamous.
For her part, Kim has always supported her husband and has openly discussed the difficulties of their marriage. Back in June, she shared on social media, “Anyone who has [bipolar disorder] or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand… People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual (has) to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
It appears she has finally reached her limit in the union with the unnamed source saying, “She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign. Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s**t, and she’s just had enough of it.”
Separately, a source close to Kanye alleges the rapper is sick of his wife and her family, which might have some truth to it since he has tweeted some pretty nasty things about them in the past. “I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for ‘prison reform,’” he said in a now-deleted July tweet. Recently, he hasn’t been featured on his wife’s Instagram and has largely remained out of the public eye.
With the news yet to be confirmed, the “divorce is imminent” reports are just rumors for now. We’ll be following the news as more information comes out.