Terry Crews apologizes to Gabrielle Union for 'America's Got Talent' comments

"I want you to know it was never my intention to invalidate your experience — but that is what I did," Terry Crews said to Gabrielle Union on Twitter. "I apologize."
Image: Terry Crews, Today - Season 69
Terry Crews on the " TODAY" show last week.Nathan Congleton / NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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By Janelle Griffith

Terry Crews apologized to Gabrielle Union on Friday for "not taking into consideration" her experience on "America's Got Talent" when he commented on her allegations of racism on set.

"I want you to know it was never my intention to invalidate your experience — but that is what I did," Crews tweeted. "I apologize. You have been through a lot in this business, and with that I empathize with the struggle toward fairness and equality in the workplace."

He also tweeted: "I hear you, I respect you and understand you. I am sorry and I am here to support you. I spoke from my own personal point of view without first taking into consideration someone else’s experience."

Crews said Union is "a role model to the entire black community" and that in his desire to be "professionally neutral," he should have, at the very least, understood she just needed his support.

Union had not responded to Crews' apology.

News broke in November of Union's ouster as a judge on "America's Got Talent" after one season.

Days later, Variety reported that Union had been let go after she raised allegations of sexist and racially insensitive behavior on set that included among other things, her being repeatedly told that her hairstyles were "too black."

NBC and the Screen Actors Guild launched separate investigations in December into Union’s claims of what has been reported as a “toxic work environment." Union also met with NBC executives in December in a five-hour meeting that she later described as "productive." In a statement last week, NBC said that it is "still investigating" Union's claims, and will "put new practices into place if necessary," the "Today" show reported.

During an appearance on the "Today" show last week, Crews, who hosts "America's Got Talent," was asked about Union's allegations, specifically that there was a toxic atmosphere on set.

"I can't speak for sexism because I'm not a woman, but I can speak on any racism comments," Crews said. "That was never my experience. In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment."

His remarks were met with swift backlash online, including from journalist Jemele Hill, who tweeted last Friday, "Beyond disappointing. Terry Crews could have spoken to his experience without going overboard to discredit @itsgabrielleu. BTW, I didn’t have to know Terry Crews or see what happened to him to support him. Sadly, black women are used to this."

Union also appeared to respond to his comments without naming him in a series of tweets last Friday.

"Truth telling, wanting change & having MULTIPLE witnesses who bravely came forward to let EVERYONE know I didn't lie or exaggerate, really exposes those who enthusiastically will throw you under the bus, forgetting quickly who stepped up 4 THEIR truth," she said in one tweet.

"Why anyone would gleefully get up on TV and tell lies that NO ONE disputed... But we already know," she said in a subsequent tweet.

Union also suggested someone “ask about what happens to all that diversity folks are talking about BEHIND THE SCENES. Like, legit... where the hell is all that diversity in the production though homie? In the decision making ranks who control the fate of the diversity in front of the camera?"

Union was among the celebrities who publicly expressed support for Crews when he revealed in 2017 that a "high-level Hollywood executive" had groped him at an industry party the previous year.

Crews said Friday that after Kevin Hart faced backlash for resurfaced anti-LGBTQ tweets in 2018, he told Hart that he needed to acknowledge the pain of others. On Friday, Crews said he was apologizing to Union because he needed to heed his own advice.

"I want to apologize for the comments I made," Crews tweeted. "I realize there are a lot of Black women hurt and let down by what I said and also by what I didn’t say."