Current judge, Heidi Klum has defended America’s Got Talent, saying that she saw nothing inappropriate while on set. Klum’s comments come in light of the recent controversial firings of season 14 judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough.
The 46-year-old German supermodel made the comments about her stint on America’s Got Talent following a Television Critics Association panel Tuesday for her new Amazon fashion-competition series, Making the Cut. Klum spent six seasons on America’s Got Talent, judging alongside a changing panel which included Howard Stern, Mel B., Howie Mandel, and producer Simon Cowell. Following her termination, Union spoke up about some of the alleged problems she encountered on the show, including comments made by staffers that her hairstyles were, “too black,” and that guest judge Jay Leno made an anti-Asian slur during an appearance on the program.
Klum, who is raising three biracial children with ex-husband Seal, spoke up about Union’s allegations of a toxic work environment, saying, “I’ve only had an amazing experience. I can’t speak for (Union). I didn’t experience the same thing.” She explained, “To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I’ve never seen anything that was weird or hurtful.” When asked if she had ever heard anything racist, Klum replied, “Nothing.” She said that the environment is actually the opposite of toxic, saying it encouraged her the opportunity “to relax a little bit.” The former supermodel also defended Simon Cowell, the show’s executive producer. She said, “Of course, there’s always this cat-and-dog fight, but this is fun. You say something silly.” She explained her role on television is to entertain, saying, “I want people to have a good time. I want people to go away from their life for two hours and just have fun and enjoy.”
However, NBC executives were so concerned about the backlash over Union’s termination, that they agreed to a closed-door five-hour meeting with her. Soon after, they launched an investigation into her detailed descriptions of the show’s allegedly toxic work environment. USA Today reports that NBC Entertainment chief, Paul Telegdy, said he expected the investigation to be completed by the end of January, adding that the concerns are being taken seriously. SAG-AFTRA, which is the professional guild protecting actors and broadcasters, has also launched its own independent investigation of Union’s claims. Hough went on record stating that she never encountered any issues on the show, despite reports from sources that she was often critiqued for her looks. Hough has recently launched a comeback of sorts which included a holiday special with her brother Derek on the very same network responsible for America’s Got Talent.
It’s not surprising that Klum says she never experienced anything bad on America’s Got Talent because she’s a current judge on America’s Got Talent: The Champions. Also, when Klum was the host of Project Runway, she likely encountered some of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged dirty deeds, yet only spoke out against the mogul once he was stripped of his executive producer title on the show. Audiences will just have to wait and see how she feels about America’s Got Talent if (or when) she’s unceremoniously dumped from its lineup.