On the week of November 20th, it was announced that Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough would not be returning to judge America’s Got Talent. Whether they were fired or quit depends on the article you read, but the reason behind them not coming back has roots in prejudice and discrimination towards women especially. Prejudice is defined as a negative judgement towards a group and its members and discrimination is taking an action based on those judgments. It has been reported that coworkers at America’s Got Talent have made hurtful remarks towards Union and Hough which lead to them leaving the show.
Union reported that the work environment of AGT was “toxic” and was made to feel uncomfortable by the “excessive notes on her and Hough’s physical appearance, as well as a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno.” (Goldstein 2019, People.com) It seems apparent that the people at America’s Got Talent have a history with prejudice and sexism towards women, because comedian/former judge Howard Stern has released a statement defending Union and Hough. After calling AGT ‘the ultimate boys club,” Stern stated, “He (Simon Cowell) sets it up that the men stay. No matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are.” (Nakamura 2019, thewrap.com) It has been well documented that, especially in Hollywood, men are judged based on their talent and women are judged on how long they can stay young and attractive looking. With that comes a pattern of discrimination towards women as they get older, and in order for true equality to be reached, this idea needs to stop.
-Reid Nakamura. “Howard Stern Calls ‘AGT’ the ‘Ultimate Boys Club,’ Blames Simon Cowell for Gabrielle Union Ouster”, The Wrap. December 2nd, 2019.
-Joelle Goldstein. “Gabrielle Union Complained About Racism at AGT Before Being Fired Alongside Julianne Hough: Reports”, People. November 27th, 2019.