To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now

Gabrielle Union Slams Simon Cowell For Believing ‘Rules Don’t Apply To Him’

Lucy Connolly


Gabrielle Union Slams Simon Cowell For Believing 'Rules Don't Apply To Him'gabunion/Instagram/PA Images

Gabrielle Union has slammed Simon Cowell for his reported misbehaviour during her time on America’s Got Talent.

Following her sudden departure from the show last year, it was revealed Union had filed a complaint against America’s Got Talent producers and NBCUniversal while she was a judge on the show over allegations of racism and sexism on set.


An external investigation into Union’s high-profile exit later found her concerns about the show’s workplace had ‘no bearing’ on her dismissal, according to NBC. Now, the Bring It On actor has claimed Cowell didn’t believe ‘the rules apply to him’ when she worked with him.

gabrielle union america's got talentNBC

Speaking to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, Union recalled a time on her first day when Cowell was smoking cigarettes inside. ‘I’ve worked a long time,’ she told Noah. ‘I’ve worked with all kinds of people. I’ve never experienced that.’

The 47-year-old actor, who is severely allergic to cigarette smoke, continued:


When your boss — the person who has the ability to determine who gets opportunities and who doesn’t — doesn’t believe that the law applies to him or the rules apply to him…

And he does it in full view of NBC, Fremantle and Syco and no one cares about Simon Cowell exposing all of these employees to second-hand smoke… that’s day one.

What message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and the lack of accountability? And it goes on and on and on.

Simon cowellPA Images

Union went on to talk about the recent discrimination complaint she filed against America’s Got Talent producers and NBCUniversal, saying she decided to participate in the external investigation because she believed it to be ‘independent’.

‘Well, silly me, I thought independent was like independent,’ she said, adding: ‘But when NBC and Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it.’ Union went on to give examples about how she was undermined during the course of the investigation, including the time she claimed an NBC executive threatened her agent.


‘This is what’s happening from the top of the company,’ she said. ‘As we’re all wanting to be part of the solution and we’re all wanting change, we have to hold the people at the very top accountable.’

gabrielle union america's got talent investigationThe Daily Show with Trevor Noah/YouTube

She went on to say there needs to be an increase in representation across the board in the industry for any real change to be made, saying the whole system needs to be dismantled. ‘You can’t put a band-aid on a gunshot wound, you just can’t,’ she concluded.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website

Topics: Film and TV, Now, simon cowell, TV


The Daily Show with Trevor Noah/YouTube
  1. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah/YouTube

    Gabrielle Union - Fighting Racism in Hollywood and Beyond | The Daily Social Distancing Show

Lucy Connolly
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You


Snoop Dogg reacts to music artist ‘ruining’ his song

6 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Makeup artist responds to ‘offensive’ criticism over Ursula's look in The Little Mermaid live-action remake

7 hours ago