Howard Stern Blames Simon Cowell for Gabrielle Union 'AGT' Ouster

“He constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks,” Stern says on his SiriusXM show

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Former “America’s Got Talent” judge Howard Stern suggested on his radio show on Monday that Simon Cowell may have had a hand in orchestrating the exits of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough from the NBC competition show.

“He sets it up that the men stay,” Stern said on his SiriusXM show. “No matter how ugly [the men] are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are.”

“What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks,” he continued. “Howie’s (Mandel) doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon? … This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.”

It was announced on Nov. 22 that “AGT” judges Union and Hough would not be returning for next year’s Season 15. Union’s contract was not renewed, with multiple reports describing behind-the-scenes clashes between Union and the show’s producers over what was described as a “toxic” workplace culture.

According to a report by Vulture, Union complained about Cowell smoking indoors; a remark made during taping by guest judge Jay Leno she deemed to be a racist that did not make it to air; and misgendering of contestants. In addition, Vulture reported that Union had supported a 10-year-old African American rapper’s advancement in the competition before being told that the show needed “an act America can get behind.”

Stern went on to parse some of Union’s complaints, taking particular issue with the complaint about Leno’s joke about dog meat being served in Korean restaurants.

“Let’s go on record as telling people that one million dogs are still eaten annually in South Korea, and if Gabrielle Union wants to effect positive change, maybe focus on the horrors of Korean dog farms and let the old irrelevant comic live in peace,” Stern said. “She wants Jay beaten in the streets. I think maybe Jay makes a point.”

Stern served as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” for four seasons before exiting the show in 2015, and did not appear on the same season with either Cowell (who is also an executive producer) or Union.

A representative for Cowell did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

NBC and “America’s Got Talent” producers Fremantle and Syco issued a statement over the weekend, saying they would work with Union to “take whatever next steps” might be appropriate to remedy her concern’s about the show’s workplace culture.

“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” the statement said. “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.”

'America's Got Talent': 10 Best Golden Buzzer Performances (Videos)

  • Mandy HarveyThe deaf singer inspired fans and the judges, and earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer when she performed an original song on the show in the summer of 2017.
  • Darci LynneThe 12-year-old ventriloquist got Mel B.’s Golden Buzzer when she sang a song with her puppet. At the beginning of her performance, she said her goal was to “keep ventriloquism alive.”
  • Courtney HadwinThe nervous 13-year-old went on stage but quickly wowed audiences when she started singing “Hard to Handle,” with many likening her to Janis Joplin. Simon Cowell’s reaction was priceless, and she ended up scoring Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer.
  • Dorothy WilliamsThe 90-year-old lady treated the judges and “AGT” fans to a little dance that took many by surprise. In the end, Nick Cannon ran over the judges table to give her the Golden Buzzer.
  • Angelica HaleThe 9-year-old Angelica Hale stunned the audiences with her own rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire.” The judges couldn’t stop smiling and in the end, guest judge Chris Hardwick pressed the Golden Buzzer.
  • Craig Lewis BandThe singing duo sang a cover of Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Goin’ Down,” scoring the Golden Buzzer from guest judge Michael Bublé.
  • Light BalanceOne of the most epic performances to ever hit the “AGT” stage, Light Balance performed a stunning dance and light show to amazing songs — to the point where Tyra Banks couldn’t stop herself from hitting the Golden Buzzer.
  • Grace VanderWaalThen 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal scored the Golden Buzzer in 2016 when she wowed everyone with her ukulele and singing skills. She even performed an original song. She has since released her own EP and has performed at Madison Square Garden and various other benefit concerts.
  • Angel City Chorale We dare you to watch this performance and try not to get goosebumps. Olivia Munn hit the Golden Buzzer after barely getting through the act without tearing up.
  • Christian GuardinoThe 16-year-old got a standing ovation after his singing performance, and was awarded the Golden Buzzer by Howie Mandel.

From epic light shows to singing sensations, the NBC talent show has seen some stellar performances over the years

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