Gabrielle Union is sharing what she's learned about how to speak up in the workplace following her exit from "America's Got Talent" in November, which was shrouded in controversy.
“Don’t be the happy negro that does the bidding of the status quo because you’re afraid. Don’t allow them to call you angry when someone else ... is called passionate," she said at the event, not naming the NBC show directly. "It’s terrifying. There’s a solid chance you’ll lose your job... I speak from experience.”
She continued, “Do your best because corporations want global dollars... Do your best to try to hold the door open and hold people responsible. Yeah, I’m asking you to do the impossible. ... I’m fully aware that job loss is on the table... but if you’re not doing it, nobody is.”
Variety reported in November that a culture of toxic, racist jokes and "excessive notes" about physical appearance were pervasive before Union's and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough's contracts were not renewed.
According to Variety, issues raised include comments on Union's and Hough's appearances. Variety quoted four unnamed sources as saying Union was told several times that her hairstyles were "too black" for the show. Hough reportedly was "consistently" given critiques on her appearance, though she said in a statement to the outlet that she had a "wonderful time" on the "AGT" set.
According to a person close to the situation but not authorized to speak publicly, NBC "is working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution," and the network is planning "a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts."
On Dec. 4, Union announced on Twitter she had a "productive meeting" with NBC during a "lengthy five-hour" chat.
"I was able to, again, express my unfiltered truth," Union tweeted. "I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change."
Contributing: Chalres Trepany
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'America's Got Talent': Gabrielle Union shares job advice after exit