Actor Terry Crews has apologized for praising America's Got Talent and not standing by former judge Gabrielle Union, who was dropped from the show for reportedly calling out its toxic work environment, which included allegations of sexism and racism.
"@itsgabrielleu, I want you to know it was never my intention to invalidate your experience— but that is what I did. I apologize," Crews said in a series of tweets on Friday. "You have been through a lot in this business, and with that I empathize with the struggle toward fairness and equality in the workplace."
Fans criticized Crews, who hosts the show, after he raised doubt about the racism claims when asked about Union's firing on the Today show last week.
"I can't speak for sexism, because I'm not a woman," Crews said. "But I can speak on behalf of any racism comments. That was never my experience on America's Got Talent."
He added that the talent reality show is "the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment," citing its contestants.
Union was dropped as a judge from the talent competition in November after she reportedly raised concerns about a racist and sexist culture at the show. In December, NBC launched a formal investigation into America's Got Talent following a Variety report that Union's contract had not been renewed after she reported a racist joke to producers and said that she was told her hairstyles were “too black” for viewers.
Referencing comments he made about Kevin Hart during an interview on BuzzFeed News' Twitter morning show AM to DM last year, Crews said he needed to "acknowledge the pain of other people" and apologize for what he said.
"Right now I have to do the same thing," he said. "I realize there are a lot of Black women hurt and let down by what I said and also by what I didn’t say. I hear you, I respect you and understand you. I am sorry and I am here to support you."
Crews called Union "a role model to the entire black community" and said that "at the very least," he should have "understood you just needed my support."