Gabrielle Union sat down with The Daily Social Distancing Show on Tuesday to discuss how the current racial tensions in this country are affecting her mentally. She also further explained how Hollywood has an issue with accountability following her short stint as a judge on “America’s Got Talent,” which she called out for racism and discrimination on set.
Union explained to host Trevor Noah that being a Black woman in America during the coronavirus pandemic and the all too frequent “murder of Black bodies,” feels like “one big anxiety attack.”
“The nonstop onslaught of trauma… I don’t even know if anxiety is a big enough word. It feels like terror in my body. You try to figure out how best you can cope and then help.”
The conversation then turned to Hollywood and its long-standing pattern of racism. Noah acknowledged Union for speaking against discrimination in the industry before it was acceptable, to which Union replied, “we have to hold people at the very top accountable.”
The 47-year-old was a judge on AGT for one season before being let go after she accused the show and its producers of racial insensitivity and of promoting a toxic working environment. However, a joint investigation by the network, producers Fremantle and Simon Cowell’s Syco after her departure, claimed that the show “demonstrated an overall culture of diversity,” only willing to confess that the investigation discovered “some areas in which reporting processes could be improved.”
“When NBC and Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it,” Union stated.
As a result of this, the actress has filed a new complaint against the show in California, asking that the racism on the set be further investigated.
“When your boss, the person who has ability to determine who gets opportunities, believes law doesn’t apply to him… and he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco. And no one cares he’s exposing employees to secondhand smoke — that’s day one, that’s within the first hour — what message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and lack of accountability?” Union said, referring to Simon Cowell smoking a cigarette inside during her first day on set, something that was prohibited to others.
The Bring It On actress said that her ultimate goal is to simply assist in all employees being treated fairly, despite their title or their race.
“Nobody is asking for anything special, nobody is asking for somebody to separate their Skittles or M&Ms…just treat people fairly. Have mechanisms in place for when things happen, there are consequences.”