US TV network NBC is facing backlash for a “performative” Black Lives Matter statement that comes months after actor Gabrielle Union, a former judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, alleged that she had encountered racism while filming.
Last year, it was reported that Union believed she was fired from the talent show because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to fix an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks.
In May, an NBC investigation into Union’s complaints concluded that the allegations were unfounded.
Despite the findings, NBC came under fire for posting in support of Black Lives Matter, a move many have branded as “performative” given the previous accusations levelled against them.
On Monday (1 June), NBC tweeted: “We stand with our black employees, colleagues, partners, and creators in outrage at acts of racism. Black Lives Matter.”
One social media user responded: “This post is solely to avoid backlash and gain publicity. NBC showed where they stand in regards to black lives when they fired @itsgabrielleu for speaking out against racism. Where was the solidarity in real life?!”
Another added: “nbc talking about ‘blm’ like they didn’t fire gabrielle union for speaking out lmaoooooooo”.
“So nice to hear you’re finally doing so!” continued another user. “Does this mean you’ll be owning your wrongdoings and issuing formal public apologies to all the black and brown people you’ve wronged? You can start with Gabrielle Union. We’ll be watching for it.”
“WHERE WAS THIS ENERGY WHEN @itsgabrielleu SPOKE OUT AGAINST RACISM????????” said one more.
— Dana (@_dsass10)June 2, 2020
— rachna raj kaur (@checkoutrach)June 2, 2020
Among Union’s original allegations was a claim that she had received multiple notes from producers calling her rotating hairstyles “too black” for the talent show’s audience.
Union also alleged that racism occurred during the filming of the show’s audition round, when a white male contestant was seen impersonating numerous famous singers, including Beyoncé. According to insiders, he “blacked up” his hands during the routine, but was still permitted to perform in front of a live audience, despite Union and other staff members requesting otherwise.
Following their investigation into Union’s claims, NBC released the following statement: “Through the investigation process, it has been revealed that no one associated with the show made any insensitive or derogatory remarks about Ms Union’s appearance, and that neither race nor gender was a contributing factor in the advancement or elimination of contestants at any time.”