Ellen Pompeo on what can be learned from the America’s Got Talent controversy

Related Articles

In a series of Tweets, the Grey’s Anatomy star says she supports Gabrielle Union’s “commitment to speaking up to injustice.” According to reports from Variety and Vulture, Union was dismissed from the most recent season of America’s Got Talent after expressing concerns over toxic workplace incidents and racist comments during her time as a judge.

Ellen Pompeo is publicly supporting Gabrielle Union in the wake of her America’s Got Talent firing.

A day after Union, 47, spoke out about her recent and controversial departure from the NBC reality competition series after only one season, Grey’s Anatomy star Pompeo came to her fellow actress’s defense in a series of tweets.

“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” Pompeo began, noting former Today show anchor Matt Lauer‘s firing for allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a second tweet, Pompeo, 50, said that she was specifically talking to “white girls” — asking them to “stand with your sisters on the front lines.”

“This is a teaching moment..It’s important..white girls I’m talking to you..whether you truly understand what racial injustice is or not..that you stand with your sisters on the front lines. Don’t cut side deals & don’t not get involved because it isn’t your issue..because it is,” she wrote.

“Workplace cultures will continue to be toxic until there is unity and solidarity among all women. If you go for self in these moments you undermine the work we are out here trying to do. Obviously this network feels like they can operate like this and it’s okay,” she continued.

Ellen Pompeo and Gabrielle Union


Pompeo acknowledged that there have been issues on her own show at rival network ABC.

“Also I feel important to mention our problems on the Greys set and every set has them…some kind of issue …there’s lots of people in a workplace.. point is… exec producers and the NETWORK @abc cared enough to help us make change support is crucial,” she tweeted. 

News broke last week that Union and Julianne Hough — who both joined the season 14 AGT judging panel back in February, taking spots vacated by Mel B and Heidi Klum — would not be returning for the show’s 15th season.

On Monday, blog Love B Scott reported Union had allegedly spoken out about “problematic” situations on set before her departure.

Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough

Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough TRAE PATTON/NBC

A day later, a report by Variety made further allegations, with multiple sources telling the publication that while working on the show, Union had expressed concerns over racially insensitive situations during her time as a judge, including a joke guest judge Jay Leno allegedly made that was later edited out of the episode.

She and Hough, 31, were also both subject to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, sources alleged in Variety‘s report.

A spokesperson for NBC and production company Fremantle responded to such claims with a statement on Tuesday to PEOPLE, 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.”

In a statement to Variety, dancer/actress Hough denied that she had a negative experience working on the show.

“I had a wonderful time on America’s Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew, and producers. I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC,” said Hough, who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Representatives for Hough, Union, Leno, and Simon Cowell‘s Syco Entertainment, which produces AGT, did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

More on this topic



Popular stories

Shepard Smith gives first public remarks and a big donation to protect journalists after his Fox exit

The former Fox News host who exited the network last month was the keynote speaker at a Committee to Protect Journalists...

Hong Kong police shoot and injure protester during rush hour demonstrations

According to multiple reports and a video captured at the scene, at least one protester was shot and wounded by Hong...

The Justice Department sues Edward Snowden to block profits from his new book

The Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against Edward Snowden which seeks to block him from receiving any revenue...