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Gabrielle Union may have quickly become the most popular judge on America’s Got Talent, but that didn’t stop the show from deciding to not renew Union’s contract. The surprising announcement arrived on Friday along with news that Union’s co-star Julianne Hough would also not be returning. Now insiders are reporting that Union was fired because she complained about a toxic work environment, with her actions receiving praise from her biggest fan, husband Dwyane Wade.

Union had yet to make a comment about being released from AGT by Tuesday afternoon, but Wade broke his silence and shared his thoughts on the situation. Saying that people have continually approached him over the past to tell him that Union is the reason they watch AGT, Wade said he was shocked and confused when he learned that his wife’s contract was not being renewed.


Wade said that his greatest pride comes from Union keeping her integrity at all times, tweeting “As proud as I were of her being selected as a judge on #AGT— I am even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.” The NBA star called Union the ‘number one judge on one of the biggest shows in the world’ and spoke about the importance of Union’s actions and the example she sets for the couple’s young daughter Kaavia.


Wade’s comments have garnered thousands of likes, including a tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda.


On Tuesday, Variety reported that NBC’s decision to not renew Union’s contract came after the actor made several complaints about inappropriate and racist behaviour on set. The first event included a joke guest judge Jay Leno made after seeing a photo of judge Simon Cowell with his dogs. Leno said that the image looked like something found “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” Several staff members, including Union, were present when the joke was made. Union complained to producers and said that the issue should be reported to HR, which it was not, although the joke was cut from the episode.

Union also complained when a white contestant impersonated black celebrities and darkened their hands. According to multiple insiders, Union and Hough were both given several notes about their physical appearance, with Union often told that her hair styles were “too black” and would alienate artists.

Although ratings for AGT have been on the decline, Hough and Union’s addition to the lineup doubled the show’s social media presence, with Union specifically responsible for half of the 25 million social media impressions.

While Hough, who has two holiday specials airing on NBC this year, maintains that the working environment on AGT was positive, Union has now broken her silence. Although she does not comment directly on the situation, Union thanks her fans for the continued support. “Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone,” tweets Union, “You got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”