In an ideal working world, an employee is solely judged by his or her work history. Their personal identities, physical appearance and beliefs play no part in their working life. But we don’t live in an ideal working world.
In recent television news, actress Gabrielle Union was unceremoniously fired from NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The reason for her firing was the objection of certain language from guest judge Jay Leno and the treatment she received because she is an African-American woman. There are also rumors that Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough were subject to additional scrutiny because they are female.
Union also spoke up because Simon Cowell, who judges and produces the show, smoked inside.
In regards to Cowell’s alleged indoor smoking, I personally believe that it is a disgusting habit that destroys your lungs and your wallet. But that is my opinion on the subject. If someone wants to smoke, that is their prerogative. I can’t tell them not to smoke. However, when it comes to respecting others, if you do smoke, go outside and do it. I don’t want or need the stench of your cigarette on me.
When it comes to the other accusations, its the same old same old. Women are judged by their looks and not by their ability and their intellect. They are also labeled as “hard to work with” (or other non-PC names) if they stand up what they feel is wrong. In the clip above, a comment was made that struck me. I’ve been a fan of AGT for a few years. While the male judges remain, the female judges are rotated out every few years.
The more I read about this news story, the more I realize that Gabrielle Union is all of us. Though the details of her experience differ, the story is the same. A female employee speaks up against something that she believes is wrong. Instead of at the very least investigating her claims, management demotes and/or fires her and goes on as if nothing happened.
My hope is that this story spurs more women to speak up. I also hope that it lights the fire under a company’s ownership or management team to ensure that the negative publicity that NBC has received does not happen to them.