Entertainment

Eva Longoria Joins The Chorus Of Celebrities Standing Up With Gabrielle Union Against ‘AGT’

Eva Longoria joined the rallying call to demand NBC address its toxic workplace culture for women after Gabrielle Union shared her experience on set and her firing from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Since AGT announced that Union would be leaving the show, the truth of the circumstances surrounding Union’s firing has come out and people are upset with the network. Union allegedly went to HR for a racist joke that was later edited out of Jay Leno’s act and was repeatedly told that her hairstyles were “too black,” according to a report by Variety. Now, Union has an advocate in Eva Longoria, who shared a Time’s Up petition to her 7.7 million Twitter followers Monday to demand that NBCUniversal “take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.”

“What @gabunion experienced on set at @NBC’s #AmericasGotTalent is unacceptable,” Longoria also wrote on Instagram. Longoria is blasting NBCUniversal on all platforms to encourage fans to demand that the network begin dismantling the imbalance of power between genders.

Time’s Up, the organization birthed by the #MeToo movement, is using its platform to petition NBCUniversal, and Longoria wants you to know about it.

CREDIT: @EVALONGORIA / TWITTER

“It’s time for @NBCUniversal to commit to long-term, concrete action to fix its toxic workplace culture and ensure safety and equity for all its workers. Add your name through @timesupnow Instagram story. #TimeUp on the imbalance of power. ✊????,” Longoria continued on Instagram. Longoria also publicly thanked Union on Twitter, posting, “Thank you @itsgabrielleu for speaking up about the toxic culture at @NBC‘s #AmericasGotTalent. It’s time for NBC to take these allegations seriously. Join me & @TIMESUPNOW in calling for accountability & concrete action from @NBCUniversal leadership.”

Time’s Up alleges that NBC retaliated against Union for speaking out against racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

CREDIT: @SHADOWANDACT / TWITTER

AGT is filmed in front of a live audience, but by the time its millions of American fans watch it on their television screens, it has been highly edited, including for the racist material that was allowed to be performed in front of the live audience. An insider told Variety that Jay Leno made a joke about a painting of Simon Cowell surrounded by his dogs on display in the executive producer’s hallway. According to four witnesses present for the taping made in front of the judges, including Union, Leno joked that “the dogs looked like something one would find ‘on the menu at a Korean restaurant,'” Variety reported. Several employees felt the joke was racist and only sought to perpetuate stereotypes that don’t actually exist at Asian-American restaurants, the outlet said. Union sought to bring the joke to the attention of Human Resources, as one might do at many other professional companies, but Variety’s whistleblowers said that it never made it to HR, though her concerns did allow for the joke to be censored in the final episode, aired on August 6.

Union’s hairstyles were also reportedly criticized as “too black.”

CREDIT: @KERRYWASHINGTON / TWITTER

Later, a white man tried to portray Beyoncé, but his hands were guised to look black, the insiders told the entertainment outlet. Union continuously asked producers to remove him from the stage, but they allowed him to give his performance to the live audience and removed the audition from the edited version. Union was also personally subjected to excessive notes on her physical appearance, specifically that her hairstyles were “too black” for their audience, something that Variety’s four inside sources said she was criticized for at least half a dozen times. News of the discrimination has prompted a #BlackHairChallenge viral hashtag in support of Union.

Longoria’s fans are taking it a step further and calling for a boycott of NBC.

CREDIT: @ZOOT16 / TWITTER

“People need to boycott the network. When it hurts their bottom line, they will change,” commented one fan. Change is already happening, thanks to the press generated from the likes of Longoria and those who signed the Time’s Up petition, which “applauds Union for her courage and once again calls on NBC to take these allegations seriously and take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.” Already, NBC and its production companies have released a joint statement to PEOPLE to confirm they 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.”

“So many tears, so much gratitude,” Union tweeted, the day after Variety’s report came out. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”

READ: Ariana Grande And Ellen Pompeo Break Their Silence Over Gabrielle Union’s Firing From ‘America’s Got Talent’

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Latina Actresses Are Pivoting to Directing and Producing In Order to Get More Latinx Stories Told

Entertainment

Latina Actresses Are Pivoting to Directing and Producing In Order to Get More Latinx Stories Told

Credit: EVALONGORIA/AMERICAFERRERA/INSTAGRAM ; KEVIN WINTER/GETTY

The numbers are bleak. Latinos make up 18% of America’s population but only 5% of the number of speaking roles in movies in 2019 according to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Hollywood seems to be late to the party when it comes to Latino representation onscreen. But luckily, there are a handful of Latino artists and creators out there who are taking the fight to appear in front of the screen to behind the camera.

Take, for example, Eva Longoria, who was just announced to be directing and co-starring in the new action-comedy film, “Spa Day”

This marks the third movie the Mexican-American actress will be helming and the first Latina to ever direct more than one major studio film.

The other films on Longoria’s roster include a vehicle for her and Kerry Washington tentatively titled “24/7”, as well as the upcoming biopic “Flamin’ Hot”–a movie centered around Richard Montañez, the man who invented Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Longoria has been candid about how the decision to move into directing and producing has been a strategic one.

“One of the reasons I went into producing and directing was I wasn’t going to sit back and wait for somebody to create a role I wanted to do,” Longoria told Variety in 2018.

“You can’t just sit around waiting for [good projects], and I wanted to create that — not just for myself but for other Latinas.”

But her career transition isn’t unique as a Latina in Hollywood. She has joined the ranks of other Latinas in Hollywood who have began to produce and direct their own projects in order to finally see Latino stories told on screen.

Her peers include Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue“, “Hustlers“), Selena Gomez (“Living Undocumented“), America Ferrera (“Gentefied“, “Superstore“), Gina Rodriguez (“Diary of an American President,” “Carmen San Diego“), and Salma Hayek (“Ugly Betty”).

All of these women have thrown their weight behind projects that otherwise wouldn’t be made if their names weren’t attached to them.

All of these women are creating stories that feature Latino stories and Latino talent–in front of and behind the camera.

America Ferrera explained the reason behind her conscious career pivot from acting to directing/producing: “My genuine heart’s desire is to tell stories that haven’t been told,” she told CBS This Morning. “It’s hard to get stories about people like us made. And then to get those stories told by us is very very uncommon.”

Although the endgame is to have Latinx stories greenlit without having to first be a famous singer or actress, the work these ladies are doing might be laying the foundation for an easier road for future industry players of Latino descent. Or as Longoria so eloquently put it: “If we unite and create opportunities for each other and pull each other up, there could be a lot more success for representation on TV.”

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NBC Is Giving ‘The Golden Girls’ A Black Reboot Starring Tracee Ellis Ross

Entertainment

NBC Is Giving ‘The Golden Girls’ A Black Reboot Starring Tracee Ellis Ross

traceeellisross / Instagram

From 1985 to 1992 fans of Betty White and Beatrice Arthur tuned in once a week to watch a group of senior citizen roomies living in Miami on a show called “The Golden Girls.” The Emmy- nominated sitcom became a beloved series that won popularity in syndication amongst fans young and old. And that includes fans of color.

Now, the dedicated audiences of “The Golden Girls” is getting a reboot and this time it’s gonna be super Black.

“The Golden Girls” is getting an all-Black cast for one night.

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Over the weekend, actress Tracee Ellis Ross shared a video on her Instagram account which revealed the big news. The video shows the old cast replaced with the new onerevealing who is taking on which role. According to the video, Ross will take on the role of Rose Nylund which was originated by White, King will replace Arthur’s role of Dorothy Zbornak, Lathan will take on McClanahan’s role as Blanche Devereaux, and Woodward will fill in Getty’s role of Sophia Petrillo.

Woodard, Ross, Lathan, and King will star in the re-imagining of the hit 1980s comedy series which will air tonight for a Zoom Where It Happened virtual watch party.

“In an effort to further engage our community and drive change, all you need to do to enjoy this evening is sign up to receive messages about how you can make a change during this election!” says the page for the event. “This event is in partnership with Zoom, and the first episode is spotlighting and supporting Color of Change – the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.

“The Golden Girls” reboot isn’t the only show revamped virtually for charity.

Earlier this summer NBC brought the cast from the beloved “Parks and Recreation” series together for a reunion. Actors Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta all took part in the reunion alongside a group of guest stars from the Pawnee world.

“Like a lot of other people, we were looking for ways to help and felt that bringing these characters back for a night could raise some money,” the show’s executive producer Michael Schur said in a statement. “I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes. Our old ‘Parks and Rec’ team has put together one more 30-minute slice of (quarantined) Pawnee life and we hope everyone enjoys it. And donates!”

The show works to raise funds for families in need during the time of the pandemic.

“In such uncertain times, we can’t think of anyone better than Leslie Knope to unite our country with her unbridled enthusiasm and compassion,” Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment also explained in a statement. “A huge thank you to Mike Schur and the cast of ‘Parks and Recreation’ for putting this wonderful special together and bringing a smile to all our faces while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

“The Golden Girls” special airs tonight at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST. The show will be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and hosted by actress Lena Waithe.

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