Fans were shocked to hear the women would not be back, and then a report came out detailing the toxic culture that Gabrielle allegedly faced on the set of the show.
On Monday's episode of The Howard Stern Show, Stern, 65, slammed Cowell - America's Got Talent's creator and judge - accusing him of having "orchestrated" Union's firing.
Variety reported that during the filming of an interstitial segment, Leno joked about a painting that featured Simon Cowell surrounded by dogs. Howard asked rhetorically, before answering, "He has set it up that the men stay no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are, no matter talentless they are".
"But what he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious".
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"She's a great girl", Leno told paparazzi in a video obtained by TMZ.
The article also claimed that Union expressed concerns over an incident during auditions in which she believed a white male performer crossed a line in portraying people of colour. "I really enjoyed working with her, she's really good", said Leno.
"We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture", read the joint correspondence from executive producer Simon Cowell's company, Syco Entertainment, which produces AGT and NBC and production company Fremantle.
"Not only did Union reportedly endure and witness racist and inappropriate behavior - including racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance - but it also appears she was punished for speaking out: the company labeled her as "difficult" before ousting her from the show altogether", the statement read. Howard wasn't rattled by that, claiming, "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 affect positive change, maybe focus on the horrors of Korean dog farms and let the old irrelevant comic live in peace". A network insider denied the volume of those notes to Variety, claiming that there were only notes about "hair continuity" for both her and Hough.
"We take issues of workplace health and safety very seriously".
Commenting on the matter, the union gave a statement saying: 'While we have taken steps to investigate this matter, we have nothing to report now'. 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. "I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC", said Hough, who is set to star in two upcoming NBC Christmas specials.