Simon Cowell's companies and America’s Got Talent probed amid Gabrielle Union’s ‘racism’ claims

SIMON Cowell's company and NBC – which broadcasts America's Got Talent – are being investigated amid claims of a "toxic culture".

The probe comes after Gabrielle Union quit her role as an AGT judge over an allegedly "racist" joke backstage.

The agency which represents actors and performers, SAG-AFTRA, launched a probe on Tuesday, into the claims made against the show.

Cowell’s company Syco, NBC and production company Freemantle issued a statement saying they are working with Gabrielle to "hear more about her concerns".

A spokesperson for the performers’ union said: “While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now.”

Variety reported that Union had urged producers to report an offensive joke made by Jay Leno while filming the show.

Union also reportedly received "excessive notes" on her appearance, including being told that her hair styles were "too black" more than a dozen times, amid a "toxic culture".

Julianne Hough, 31, whose contract was also not renewed, is also alleged to have received excessive critiques of her personal appearance including hair, make up and wardrobe.

Insiders claimed this had a detrimental impact on her morale – though Hough has denied this to Variety.

“Gabrielle believes there is a toxicity that has become normalized at ‘Talent,’” an insider told Deadline on Monday. “She wants to help fix that, because she loved a lot of her time on the show last season, even with the issues with Simon and what have you. But she could never go back, even if they did a [180] and asked her to for another season — no.”

At the end of America's Go Talent's 14th series, Grabrielle was axed alongside Hough.

NBC and series producer Fremantle said in a joint statement: “America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show.

“The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity.

"NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

While Gabrielle and Julianne's contracts were not renewed, their fellow cast members Howie Mandel, Terry Crews and Simon Cowell are all expected to return to the next series.

Union will speak to the lawyers hired by Syco, NBC and producers Freemantle this week to discuss her time on America’s Got Talent according to Page Six.

Cowell’s company Syco has brought in outside counsel amid the scandal.

A source confirmed to Page Six: “The companies are retaining outside counsel to assist us in learning more about the facts in this matter, starting with hearing from Gabrielle, which we expect to happen this week.”

NBC, Fremantle and Syco released a joint statement on Sunday.

It said: "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."

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