Dwyane Wade is standing behind his wife, Gabrielle Union, following her departure from America’s Got Talent after expressing concern over “offensive” incidents that took place on the set.
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, the 37-year-old former basketball player took to Twitter to defend his wife after news broke over the weekend that the 47-year-old actress and Julianne Hough would be exiting the NBC competition after one season.
“‘Men lie, Women lie, numbers don’t” over this past year I’ve been approaching by many people saying that my wife @itsgabrielleu is the main reason they’ve started watching #AGT or that they love her insight and sincerity on the show,” Wade tweeted this morning.
Respectively, many fans and followers of AGT and Union have also taken to social media to offer their support for the actress during this time—expressing that her departure feels like “retaliation” and also praising Union for standing up for other marginalized communities (according to a report, when visiting the AGT offices Jay Leon “made a crack about a painting no display in a hallway Simon Cowell, the show’s executive producer and judge, surrounded by his dogs. Leno joked that the pets looked like something one would find ‘on the menu at the Korean restaurant.'”)
“So when I got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? I am still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture,” Wade continued in another tweet.
According to the exclusive report published by Variety, Union spoke up about a “toxic culture” at AGT. In regards to the joke made by Leon, Union sought to have the joke reported to the human resources department in order to show the production staff the joke was not okay, according to the publication.
However, despite Union bringing the issue to the attention of an executive, the situation was “never escalated” to HR.
Further, Variety also claims that Union and Hough were both given “excessive notes on their physical appearance,” which “impacted her morale and led to tensions,” particularly for Hough. The publication also reports that Union was criticized and targeted for wearing hairstyles “too black” for viewers.
Wayne added on Twitter that as “proud” as he was of her being selected as a judge on AGT, he’s “even more proud of her standing up for what she stands for and that’s US.”
Lastly, Wade tweeted “so [cheers]to you @itsgabrielleu on not losing sight of the lessons we’ve talked about teaching our daughter and for kicking ass while you were on that platform. Number 1 judge on one of the biggest shows in the world!!”
Since Variety‘s report, Union has yet to comment on the matter.
In a statement from NBC and Fremantle, the companies said: “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.”