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.
DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands
Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.
Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden.
During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room.
“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”
While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected.
We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that!
Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults
It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden.
Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”
In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.
Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”
Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:
The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.
Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.
Wendy Williams Believes Nicki Minaj Damaged Her Brand By Marrying Kenneth Petty
We all know Wendy Williams is not one to hold her tongue during “Hot Topics.” Tuesday’s episode was no different as she addressed the recent headlines regarding Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty. During the segment, Williams discussed Petty’s current legal issues, which include a recent arrest for failure to register as a sex offender in the state of California. After briefing the audience on what transpired over the last few days, Williams pretty much implied that Minaj damaged her brand by marrying a convicted attempted rapist and murderer.
“You should’ve never married him, because now you’ve ruined everything about what your brand could be, again,” according to Williams. “You’re never gonna stand a chance when you’re with a man who pulls a knife at rape point … a molester … a registered sex offender. You’re never going to stand a chance with John Q. Public. Because there’s only one thing worse than touching children and pulling knives, and that’s murder. By the way, he did go to jail for manslaughter.” Williams then instructed her staff to “get to digging.”
According to TMZ , 41-year old Petty has officially taken care of the matter by registering as a sex offender following his arrest on federal charges for violating California’s Megan’s Law. However, that won’t keep Williams from dishing on the topic as she vowed to address it further on Wednesday’s show.
Petty’s sex offender status is connected to his 1995 conviction of first-degree attempted rape for which he served a four year sentence. In addition to the 1995 conviction, Petty also served time for manslaughter in connection with a shooting in New York in 2002. He was released from prison in 2013.
While some feel Williams should remain silent on the matter following the abrupt end of her marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter, others feel like its all fair in love and entertainment.
What are your thoughts? Should Williams be the one to voice her concerns regarding Minaj’s marriage? Has Nicki damaged her brand?