An America’s Got Talent alum has weighed in on the recent controversy following applicants Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough departed the series. The always-opinionated, and always-vocal,” Howard Stern voiced his thoughts on his radio series on Monday, accusing AGT founder and judge Simon Cowell of systematically replacing female judges using”younger and sexier” women.
“How is it that that freak Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?” Said Stern, who was a judge AGT for four seasons, from 2012 to 2015. “He’s set it up that the men remain, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how awful they are, no matter how talentless they are.” He continued,”What (Decision ) handles to do on all of his shows ishe always replaces the sexy chicks with hotter girls and younger girls. Which is so obvious.”
Agents for Cowell did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic; Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic
Back in November, news broke Union and Hough, who joined judges for AGT‘s 14th season, would not be returning because of its upcoming 15th period, after allegedly being fired. Union and Hough had substituted Mel B and Heidi Klum, who had been around AGT for six seasons, on the judges’ panel. Howie Mandel has been a judge on the show because its fifth period at 2010, and Cowell united as a judge in 2016, substituting Stern.
Jay Leno apparently cut out of an episode, another cut section involving a white contestant performing racially insensitive impressions of celebrities,”excessive notes” on Union’s along with Hough’s looks (like that Union’s hairstyles were”too black” for the show’s viewers ), and a months-long struggle over Cowell’s on-set smoking.
A joint statement from NBC and production companies Syco Entertainment and Fremantle, issued Sunday, read,”We remain dedicated to ensuring that a respectful workplace for all workers and take seriously any questions about office culture. We are working with Ms. Union through her agents to learn more about her worries, following which we’ll take whatever next steps may be appropriate”
A spokesperson for NBC and Fremantle also told PEOPLE in a statement,”America’s Got Talent has a lengthy record of inclusivity and diversity in both our ability and the acts championed from the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed through the years which is among the explanations for AGT‘s enduring popularity”
Several actors have voiced their support for Union, including Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, and Will & Grace star Debra Messing.
“That is disgusting behavior from a network which has been my professional home for decades,” Messing composed on Twitter. “Yes, women become’hard,’ if their insistence to a respectful and professional working environment, is ignored.”
Performers’ marriage SAG-AFTRA has also launched an investigation into the matter, saying in a statement,”We consider issues of workplace health and security very seriously. We instantly reached out to Ms. Union’s representatives whenever these reports came to light”
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