After sidestepping the drama surrounding Gabrielle Union's firing from America's Got Talent during an interview Tuesday, Julianne Hough made a point to "commend" both her former co-star and NBC. Hough, who is promoting her two upcoming NBC Christmas specials, appeared on the third hour of the Today show Thursday and discussed the controversy.
"We need to start conversations and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation," said Hough. "I’m really proud of NBC as well for also showing up and starting a narrative and that’s what’s going to change the workplace and the paradigm that we’ve been working in for many many years and is shifting and I think that’s really exciting."
On Wednesday, Union tweeted that she had a "productive" five-hour meeting with NBC. The network also called the meeting productive and announced "there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution." Hough said it "excites" her to see Union's tweets.
Hough added, "Life is crazy and sometimes you can’t control things and when obstacles come your way you have to be graceful about it and have integrity and I think that people with authenticity and integrity will create change."
When asked if she’s spoken to Union, Hough said she's "reached out," but that they haven't seen each other.
"I have reached out. I think we both have been very busy… hopefully, when I get back to LA later this afternoon we can have a conversation," she said.
Union was fired after allegedly complaining about toxic workplace culture on set of the competition show. She was supposedly labeled difficult by Simon Cowell and his team of producers — which is much of what NBC will investigate, according to Deadline — for speaking up about racially insensitive situations. Both Hough and Union, who were only judges for one season, allegedly received excessive notes about their physical appearance. (Hough has denied this.)
Hough said she "wasn't" surprised about how much attention the story is getting. "I think that this is a big conversation and I think people really want to be a leader of change and I think that people are supporting it," she added.
The dancer and actress has remained mostly quiet about the controversy and was slammed on social media for not supporting Union. It’s an issue The View's Sunny Hostin brought up on Thursday's show.
"If anything, Time's Up taught us to speak out and be each other's ally," she explained. "I was so disappointed in Julianne Hough. I know she has these specials coming up with NBC, and that's really, really great for her in that she didn't want to burn those bridges, but we need to be allies to each other, ladies. We need to stick together. I'm very disappointed."
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