As many female actresses, such as Ellen Pompeo, Debra Messing and Eva Longoria, have come out in support of Gabrielle Union following her departure from the “toxic culture” on the set of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, a former male judge is speaking out.
Howard Stern, a former judge on AGT for four years, spoke out on his Sirius XM show, calling out show creator/producer Simon Cowell.
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“How is it that Simon Cowell has orchestrated this? He 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,” Howard said of the judges panel selection. “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. Simon (and) Howie get to stay, but the three women had to go: Tyra Banks, Mel B., Heidi Klum, and they find two younger, hotter women. I like Howie, he’s doing a fine, serviceable job, but why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon?” Stern added. “This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.”
Simon became a judge on AGT after Howard departed the show in 2015. Following the announcement of Gabrielle and Julianne’s release, Variety released a story of “toxic culture” behind the scenes. One incident reported, was a joke told by Jay Leno about dogs being found on a Korean menu, which Gabrielle found offensive and believed it should be reported to HR. The line was cut from the show that aired on Aug. 6. Also reports of Gabrielle being told her hair style was “too black” for the show’s audience were shared.
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Simon Cowell’s company, Syco Entertainment, released a statement following the controversy saying, “‘America’s Got Talent’ has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously. We 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.”