Former America’s Got Talent judge Howard Stern is blasting the show’s creator and judge Simon Cowell for NBC’s firing of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough from the competition series, bluntly stating that Cowell “orchestrated” the explosive situation.
Stern, after admitting he has never heard of Union, addressed the subject on his SiriusXM radio show, posing the question, “How is it that that freak Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?” Then, answering his own question, he charged the show and Cowell with sexist double-standards.
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“He has set it up that the men stay,” Stern continues, “no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are, no matter talentless they are. But what he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious.”
Whether Stern, who often mocks his own looks, was including himself and longtime judge Howie Mandel in the disparagement of ugly, old, fat and talentless male judges is open to opinion. Stern said when Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Mel B were let go, Mandel and Cowell stayed. (Terry Crews was a newcomer on the judges panel for the most recent season; other male judges in recent seasons include Chris Hardwick, Seal, Ken Jeong, George Lopez, and, of course, Cowell, who replaced Stern in 2016.)
Stern’s comments follow by a day the statement put out by NBC, Fremantle and Cowell’s Syco: “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.”
Multiple reports suggest that Union was dismissed after complaining about a hostile work environment and racially charged incidents at AGT. Prior to their statement Sunday, the companies previously had insisted that “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show.”
Apparently one of the racially charged incidents Union reported was an attempted joke made backstage by Jay Leno during his guest judge visit: The former host of NBC’s The Tonight Show made a crack about dogs being on the “menu at a Korean restaurant.”
Leno was confronted over the weekend by TMZ crews in Hermosa Beach, CA, saying: “I love Gabrielle Union. She’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her. She’s really good.”
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