In an interview on NBC’s Today on Thursday, Crews — who also stars on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine — acknowledged that he had no ground from which to address Union’s allegations of sexism at AGT. “But I can speak on behalf of any racism comments. That was never my experience on America’s Got Talent. In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment,” he said. “The Top 10 acts were Asian, women, older, younger, black, white, it was everything in the gamut.”
In November 2019, Union and Julianne Hough — who’d both joined AGT as judges in Season 14 — would not be returning for AGT‘s 15th cycle. Our sister site Variety later reported that Union and Hough had been subject to a “toxic culture” at the show, including excessive notes on their appearance (including a specific critique that Union’s hairstyles were “too black”). Union also reportedly clashed with producers about a contestant whose material she found racially insensitive. That performer ultimately was allowed to try out, though his audition was later cut from the final broadcast.
NBC and series producer Fremantle initially issued a statement asserting that AGT “has a long history of inclusivity and diversity,” and pointed out that “the judging and host lineup has been regularly refreshed over the years.” But a later statement read: “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture… 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.”
In December, Union confirmed on social media that she’d had a “productive meeting” with the network and Freemantle. She added that she “led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”
As Today‘s Craig Melvin points out later in the interview, NBC continues to investigate the matter.
Watch Crews’ interview below: