Heidi Klum Defends ‘America’s Got Talent’ Amid Gabrielle Union Drama: I Was Treated With the ‘Utmost Respect’

Nothing bad to say. Heidi Klum was extremely positive when reflecting on her time as a judge on America’s Got Talent for six years — despite any negative reports about the show’s culture.

“I’ve only had an amazing experience. I can’t speak for [Gabrielle Union]. I didn’t experience the same thing,” Klum, 46, told Us Weekly and other reporters at the Television Critics’ Association’s winter press tour on Tuesday, January 14. “To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I’ve never seen anything that was weird or hurtful.”

Heidi Klum Defends 'America's Got Talent' Amid Gabrielle Union Drama
Heidi Klum and Gabrielle Union Shutterstock (2)

Shortly after news broke that Union, 47, would not be returning as a judge after just one season, reports surfaced that claimed she was fired for speaking up about racist remarks made on set. She also allegedly received complaints from staff that her hairstyles were “too black.” Another report claimed that she didn’t get along with judge and executive producer Simon Cowell.

However, the supermodel, who was promoting her new series Making the Cut, didn’t have any negative times on the competition series.

“Six years I was there. I loved it. Of course, there’s always this cat and dog fight, but this is fun. … I mean also it’s like, ‘Everyone relax a little bit.’ For me, being on television, I want to entertain people. I want people to have a good time,” the former Project Runway host explained. “I want people to, like, get away from their life for two hours and just have fun and enjoy.”

Heidi Klum Defends 'America's Got Talent' Amid Gabrielle Union Drama-inline
Heidi Klum speaks at the “Making the Cut” panel during the Amazon TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour at the Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, Ca on January 12, 2020. Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

She also explained that Cowell, 60, would make jokes a lot but they were just that: jokes. Klum was a judge on the NBC series from season 8 until season 13. For season 14, she and Mel B exited the show and Union and Julianne Hough joined for one season. Klum later joined the spinoff, America’s Got Talent: Champions, which is currently airing.

NBC is currently investigating the claims about the toxic culture on set. On December 1, NBC, Fremantle and Cowell’s company, Syco, spoke out in a statement.

“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” the companies stated. “We 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.”

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