LAPD chief ‘disgusted’ by allegations officer fondled dead woman’s breasts

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he was “disgusted” by allegations that an officer fondled a dead woman’s breasts and added that criminal charges are possible.

Department officials initially thought the alleged act was discovered during a random inspection of the officer’s body camera footage, but officials now say a detective investigating the woman’s death found the video.

The officer, who is assigned to downtown’s Central Division, was placed on leave and assigned to home as the department launched an internal investigation. The Times first reported the incident on Tuesday.

Moore told KTLA on Thursday that the department would “aggressively pursue any criminal violation.”


“Let me first and foremost apologize to the family,” the chief said. “I can’t imagine the pain that comes from losing a daughter, a 27-year-old woman, who we’re still investigating the circumstances of her death. But then to have that compounded by new reports of an allegation that an officer broke that trust.”

Former L.A. County sex crimes prosecutor Dmitry Gorin said a California health and safety statute makes willful sexual contact with the deceased a felony.

“Every person who willfully mutilates, disinters, removes from the place of interment, or commits an act of sexual penetration on, or has sexual contact with, any remains known to be human, without authority of law, is guilty of a felony,” according to the statute.

The touching of breasts repeatedly for sexual gratification would meet that standard, he said.


Gorin, though, said he has not seen such a charge.

The alleged incident occurred when the officer and his partner responded to a call about a possible dead woman in a residential unit, sources said. Once the two officers determined the woman was dead, one officer returned to the patrol car to retrieve something. During that time, the accused officer turned off his body-worn camera and allegedly fondled the woman’s breasts, LAPD officials said.

Although the officer deactivated the camera, a two-minute buffer on the device captured the incident. The department is also investigating the officer’s work history.

Currently, when an LAPD officer turns his or her camera on, it automatically begins saving video and audio starting two minutes before the activation. It’s unclear for how long the officer allegedly fondled the dead woman or what triggered him to later activate the camera.

Starbucks relaxes dress code; employees say they’re now allowed to wear formerly banned accessory

Don’t be surprised if your Starbucks baristas start sporting some new facial accessories this week.

The coffee chain confirmed to Fox News that it has updated its dress code to allow employees, or “partners,” as Starbucks calls them, to “bring their whole selves to work.”


Starbucks did not specify what, exactly, it was changing about its current dress code policy, but reports indicate that baristas will now be allowed to wear one facial piercing of their choosing, but no larger than a dime, according to documents reportedly obtained by Business Insider.

Many Starbucks employees took the new guidelines to mean that septum piercings, which were previously not allowed, would be acceptable.

Many Starbucks employees took the new guidelines to mean that septum piercings, which were previously not allowed, would be acceptable. (iStock)

Starbucks’ former policy allowed only earrings, small earplugs, or a small nose stud, according to the last Dress Code Look Book.


Starbucks employees on Twitter began circulating the news after apparently learning of the new dress code through work; however, some understood the biggest change to mean that septum piercings — or jewelry worn between the dividing wall between the nostrils — were now allowed.


Starbucks, meanwhile, has yet to confirm the exact language from the new guidelines.

“We believe the Starbucks Experience is best delivered when partners can bring their whole selves to work,” a Starbucks spokesperson said to Fox News. “Based on partner feedback, we have simplified our resources and approach to dress code to provide more clarity and make it easier for partners to select their wardrobe for work.”

Starbucks last relaxed its dress code in 2016, allowing partners to wear dark or “subdued” colors and muted patterns, as opposed to just solid black or white. The last iteration also lists that hair could be dyed any color so long as it’s “clean, brushed and kept back from the face.” Tattoos, too, are allowed, if they’re not seen on the face or neck, and don’t “contain obscene, profane, racist, sexual, or objectionable words or imagery.”


Starbucks’ latest policy is said to have gone into effect on Monday, Dec. 2, according to employees on social media.

Pelosi says she resents question as a Catholic

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mitt Romney and President Donald Trump listen during a listening session on youth vaping on November 22, 2019.White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mitt Romney and President Donald Trump listen during a listening session on youth vaping on November 22, 2019. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway spoke with reporters at the White House this morning following an appearance on Fox News.

Conway called witnesses at yesterday’s House Judiciary impeachment hearing “a bunch of biased professors who aren’t fact witnesses.”

She criticized one Democratic witness, Professor Pamela Karlan, as someone who “looks her nose down on people I grew up with,” mocking her three degrees from Yale (“Yay!”) and said that “in the comfort of her ivory tower” she was “unimpeachably unimpressive.”

The White House, Conway said, is “very ready” for a Senate trial, noting that legislative affairs director Eric Ueland was on the Hill yesterday and that she’s been present for meetings with some senators.

The Senate process, she argued, “would include live witnesses who have visibility and knowledge into facts.”

She said the Senate should call on the Bidens and Adam Schiff to testify, and, interestingly, said she has a list of Burisma board members on her desk that “maybe” will be called.

It’s “more likely” that White House counsel Pat Cipollone will testify in Senate proceedings, per Conway, but she wouldn’t weigh in on whether Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton will testify on the Senate side before the articles of impeachment are known.

Sheriff Youngblood addresses concerns about realistic BB guns for kids

The BB gun in the local sporting goods ad looked just like a 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun — which has the potential to be quite lethal.

And when Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood saw it Wednesday, the uncanny resemblance of the air gun with the Glock 17 didn’t sit well with him.

The air pistol may not be a real gun, the sheriff said on a Facebook comment he posted Wednesday morning, but it could “get your kid in serious jeopardy.”

A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Youngblood nonetheless isn’t shy about providing a lawman’s perspective for parents who might be considering purchasing a replica-style BB gun for their child.

“From a law enforcement standpoint, we see the danger,” Youngblood said.

“Obviously, it’s constructed to be an exact replica of the real thing,” he said. “It strikes me as not a great idea for parents to buy their children something like that.”

The tragedies that have occurred across the country as a result of confusion between real and the fake guns are the sort that leave families devastated — and police officers scarred for a lifetime. 

In one of the most well-known incidents, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot to death in Cleveland in 2014 by a rookie officer who saw a realistic toy gun and believed it to be a real threat. The youngster was drawing the toy gun from his waistband when he was shot.

According to a study by The Washington Post, done in conjunction with journalism students from American University, 86 people in the U.S. were shot and killed while carrying fake guns in 2015 and 2016. Four of those were children and 38 of the dead suffered from mental illness.

“Thirteen (guns) were replicas, two were toys, one was a starter pistol and one was a lighter,” the newspaper reported.

In recent years, lawmakers across the country have pushed for stricter regulations on the design of nonlethal guns. Legislators in California passed a law, effective in 2016, that requires toy guns to be visually distinguishable from real weapons. The toys must be painted a bright color, or be affixed with visible florescent strips.

But not all BB guns have these markings.

By 6 p.m. Wednesday, Youngblood’s post had more than 200 comments, those who were in complete agreement with his note of caution to others who suggested it smacked of government restriction.

The Californian asked readers on Facebook whether they would buy a replica BB handgun like the one pictured in the ad for a child or young adult.

“No way,” commented Tim Stonelake.

“Absolutely not!” echoed Keith Hall.

Teri Jones asked, “Why put this in a child’s hands?”

Timothy William commented that his son saw a similar ad and said he wanted one.

“I said no way,” he added. “It looks way too much like a real Glock. If you point that at a cop, or anyone with a gun, they would likely shoot because it looks really real.”

Sylvia Cariker harkened back to more innocent times. “Never! Ever!” she said. “Whatever happened to using two fingers and making shooting noises with your mouth?”

Youngblood suggested being an advocate for gun rights doesn’t mean abandoning one’s common sense.

“No one is stronger on the Second Amendment than me,” he said.

But manufacturing BB guns to look exactly like Glocks or other lethal handguns?

“That seems to be on the edge of absurdity to me.”

Yoda and Leia are among first stranded sea lions this season. Rescuers blame the weather

A menacing blob of heat bubbling up in the Pacific Ocean has marine mammal rescuers on edge and gearing up for what could be an exceptionally active year.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach has rescued four baby sea lions since November, an unusually high number so early in the season. The center usually fields calls about stranded pups in January or February.

Officials think “the blob” developing in the Pacific Ocean is to blame for the increased number of strandings, said Krysta Higuchi, a spokeswoman for the rescue center. What’s worse, the weather pattern may grow, creating the same oceanic heat wave that developed between 2014 and 2015 and for years caused thousands of sea lions to become stranded along California’s coast.

The threat comes after an already active year, with 188 sea lion rescues so far in 2019 compared with an average of 150, Higuchi said.


“During what’s become an abbreviated ‘off-season,’ our animal care team has been purposefully preparing for a potentially dismal year for marine mammal strandings,” marine center Chief Executive Peter Chang said in a statement. “We are hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.”

Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach

Yoda, a 5-month-old California sea lion, who was rescued in distress from the Dana Point Harbor jetty, rests at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Following the 2014 oceanic heat wave, which raised sea temperatures seven degrees above normal, researchers documented the largest harmful algae bloom in the West Coast, which shut down crabbing and clamming for months, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Thousands and thousands” of emaciated marine mammals became stranded on the coast, and the effects lasted far longer than “the blob” itself, Higuchi said.


The new weather pattern — officially called the Northeast Pacific Marine Heat Wave of 2019 — has developed over the last few months as a result of a high-pressure ridge that dampened winds and contributed to ocean warming. Researchers say the event is on its way to becoming as strong as the last blob and is already one of the most significant recorded.

The effects could be as devastating to the ecosystem as the 2014 heat wave, but there is a chance the oceanic event is temporary.

“It looks bad, but it could also go away pretty quickly if the unusually persistent weather patterns that caused it change,” Nate Mantua, a research scientist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, said in a NOAA news release.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center isn’t taking any chances. The organization is collecting funds to increase its research, supplies, volunteers and medical equipment, Higuchi said, with $17,000 raised since Tuesday.

The four sea lions temporarily housed at the center were rescued in the last three weeks. The pups, which are all about 5 months old, are malnourished, dehydrated and much too young to be separated from their mothers, Higuchi said.

The day before Thanksgiving, ahead of a major storm, the center received reports throughout the day of a stranded baby sea lion seen shivering along the shore in Dana Point. The scared pup dodged in and out of the ocean, making it hard for rescuers to help him.

Yoda and Leia

Leia, left, who was rescued in distress from the Newport Beach Pier, and Yoda, a 5-month-old California sea lion who was rescued in distress from the Dana Point Harbor jetty, receive care at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Eventually, the scrawny sea creature retreated to a jetty, allowing rescuers to pick him up. As Higuchi held him in her arms, she could feel how small and malnourished he was. He weighed only 31 pounds instead of the typical 50 for his age.


Higuchi named the pup Yoda, after “Mandalorian’s” viral Baby Yoda character.

The latest rescue, Leia, was found beneath the Newport Beach Pier after becoming entangled in fishing gear. She had to be sedated so rescuers could remove fishing line from her mouth and one of her fins, Higuchi said.

Yoda and Leia are still being tube-fed, while the two other rescues, named Kam and Clint, have improved enough to eat fish from a bowl. The sea lions will be monitored before they’re returned to the ocean.

Seattle Seahawks’ Rashaad Penny was gifted touchdown vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Seattle Seahawks have shown they can beat teams in the air and on the ground this season and there appears to be a deeper relationship between their two running backs than what’s seen on the field.

On the first drive in the third quarter of the Seahawks’ win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, Chris Carson got the team within scoring distance with a 25-yard run. He then subbed himself out of the game to give Rashaad Penny a chance to score a touchdown. Penny was confused by the gesture.


“I was surprised [Carson] actually told me to come in at the 1-yard line,” Penny told reporters Monday night, according to the Seattle Times. “Because I’m not the 1-yard running back. But that shows you how much he cares and how much love there is between me and him.”


With the emergence of both players this season, the Seahawks were thought to have a running back controversy on their hands. Carson has 981 rushing yards this season with five touchdowns and Penny has 370 rushing yards with three touchdowns this season.

Carson, however, downplayed any notion of a controversy, according to NBC Sports Northwest.

“It’s great,” he said. “We have two different running styles, so it keeps the defense on their toes. They don’t know what to expect. Rashaad has been practicing so hard these last few weeks, really since training camp. He’s just trying to get his feel of the game, and it’s starting to show up.”

Penny added: “It’s a brotherhood. Everybody thinks we’re supposed to hate each other. This is literally love in the backfield.”


Seattle’s win over Minnesota pushed them into the top spot of the NFC. Seattle is 10-2 this season. They play the Los Angeles Rams on the road this coming Sunday.

She strays from her prepared remarks to push back on the ranking Republican, going on to conclude: ‘Trump must be held to account’

President Trump, while in London, did not answer a question today on whether he still has confidence in his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani but did ask why it’s “a big deal” that he made phone calls to the White House.

“So somebody said he made a phone call into the White House? What difference does that make? I don’t know. Is that supposed to be a big deal? I don’t think so,” Trump said.

“Rudy’s a great gentlemen and they’re after him only because he’s done such a good job. He was very effective against Mueller and the Mueller hoax,” Trump continued.

Why this matters: In the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report released Tuesday new phone records were uncovered showing a web of communications between Giuliani, his associate Lev Parnas, Congressman Devin Nunes, and the White House budget’s office.

Trump was asked earlier why Giuliani would call OMB specifically, but he only said: “I don’t really know.”

Nine arrested after ShotSpotter activation on Clyde Street

The Bakersfield Police Department made nine arrests after the city’s ShotSpotter system indicated two rounds had been fired from the backyard of a residence at the 100 block of Clyde Street, according to a news release.

The Kern County Sheriff Department assisted BPD with an airship that observed three subjects in the backyard where shots were fired from, the release said. Law enforcement observed one of the subjects concealed an item inside a clothes dryer in the yard before all three subjects entered the residence, according to the release.

Officers responded and observed a spent 9mm casing in the yard and found the object inside the dryer to be a loaded 9mm handgun, police said in the release.

The weapon was determined to be a stolen firearm out of Turlock and after three hours, police detained nine suspects from inside the residence, according to the release.

The release says the three suspects observed by the airship were Enrique Cruz, 36, Valdamar Correra, 25, and Ponciano Monje, 27, who were all arrested on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm and possession of stolen property.

The other six subjects from the residence were arrested on suspicion of delaying and obstructing an investigation. All nine were booked into the Kern County jail.

California voters strongly support impeaching Trump, poll shows

As House Democrats move forward in their effort to remove President Trump from office, a new poll finds California voters deeply split along party lines, with a majority supporting impeachment.

More than 8 in 10 self-identified Democrats in the state support impeaching Trump and removing him from office while about 8 in 10 self-identified Republicans oppose doing so, according to the latest Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times.

Independents who don’t lean to either party split closely on impeachment, with 40% in favor and 36% opposed. That’s a relatively small group, however, only about 1 in 8 California voters, since most self-identified independents lean toward one party or the other.

Views of whether the House should impeach Trump divide sharply by party. Self-identified Democrats significantly outnumber self-identified Republicans in the state.

(Chris Keller/Los Angeles Times)

Nationally, voters are closely divided on impeachment, polls show. But in California, where Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans, the sharp divide among partisans translates into a strong margin for impeaching Trump — 57% in favor, 30% opposed, with 13% saying they either don’t know or feel it’s too soon to say.


Majority of California voters favor impeachment of the president

(Chris Keller/ Los Angeles Times)

The partisan divide also means widespread approval of the two California Democrats who have steered the impeachment process in the House — Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank.

What it does not mean, however, is any significant change in how voters view Trump or his potential reelection — a lack of movement that’s reflected in national polls.

The president has been unpopular in California since he took office in 2017, and a large majority of voters in the state oppose him. That hasn’t changed: California appears on track to reject Trump’s reelection bid, likely by an historic margin.


But the impeachment crisis has not worsened his standing. Nor does it appear to have changed minds on either side.

Almost all partisans, on both sides, say they feel “strongly” about their positions.

“The net effect of two weeks of televised impeachment hearings appears only to have dug California voters in deeper to their earlier held partisan positions about the president. Few minds have been changed,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll director for the Berkeley institute.

The roughly 1 in 8 voters who remain uncertain also overwhelmingly say they aren’t paying close attention to the impeachment battle, following the typical pattern that the voters who most closely follow news tend to be the most partisan.

Overall, 42% of the state’s voters said they were following news of the impeachment process very closely, another 40% said they were following somewhat closely, while 18% said they were not paying close attention.

The poll of 3,482 registered voters statewide was conducted Nov. 21-27 — after the conclusion of the two weeks of public hearings that the Intelligence Committee conducted in mid-November. The results for the full voter sample have an estimated margin of error of 2.5 percentage points in either direction.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing and is expected to begin drawing up articles of impeachment later this month. The full House is expected to vote on impeachment before Christmas.


If impeachment passes — as seems all but assured given the Democrats’ majority in the chamber — the Senate probably would conduct a trial in January.

Asked what the Senate should do, California voters divided the same way they did on a House impeachment — 55% said the senators should convict Trump and remove him from office, while 28% said they should not and 17% were undecided or said it was too soon to know.

Overall, 50% of voters favored both a House impeachment and a Senate conviction while 39% opposed both and 7% favored the House impeaching Trump, but were either opposed to the Senate convicting him or weren’t sure about it.

The poll findings “really shows the solidification of party lines when it comes to Trump,” said Berkeley political science professor Eric Schickler. “It’s a sharp contrast with Watergate, where over time, you saw Republicans coming around to the idea that President Nixon should go.”

“There has been more news, more surprises in this presidency than almost any, and yet his approval rating has remained the same,” and how people feel about impeachment has largely matched whether or not they approve of Trump, he added.

When Pelosi first announced on Sept. 24 that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry, many political analysts predicted the move would hurt Democrats’ prospects, much as the impeachment of President Clinton hurt Republicans a generation ago.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, both in California and nationally, impeachment appears to have unified the Democrats’ factions.

By 50% to 32%, Democrats in the state said they want Democrats in Congress to focus on impeaching Trump. Republicans, overwhelmingly, said Democrats in Congress should focus on other national priorities.


The two sides also divide on whether the impeachment process has been fair, with nearly 8 in 10 Democrats saying the process has been fair and impartial, while just over 8 in 10 Republicans say it has not been.

Schiff, who ran the process in the Intelligence Committee and likely will continue to do so if the House votes to send the impeachment to the Senate for trial, has gained stature among Democrats, which could help him if he pursues statewide office, as he has long contemplated.

Four years ago, when Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her retirement and Schiff thought about getting into the race to replace her, a Los Angeles Times poll found only 19% of people statewide felt they knew enough about him to have an opinion.

Now, roughly three-quarters of California voters have a view of him, putting him in the same league statewide as Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who succeeded Boxer.

Overall, 44% of the state’s voters approve of Schiff’s job performance, the poll found, while 31% disapprove, a more favorable ratio than either of the senators. The poll found voters slightly negative on Feinstein’s job performance, 46% approval to 52% disapproval, and evenly divided on Harris, 50% to 49%.

As with the impeachment that has made him well known, views about Schiff are highly partisan: Democrats approve of his job performance 70% to 7%, while Republicans disapprove 80% to 7%.

Views of Pelosi are similarly partisan. Overall, the state’s voters approve of her job performance 53% to 46%. Democrats approve 81% to 19% while Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of her, 91% to 8%.

Pelosi, like previous House speakers, has been a polarizing figure through much of her tenure. But Republican efforts to make her a centerpiece of their midterm election campaign fell flat in the 2018 as Democrats regained control of the House.

The speaker’s decision to put Schiff and the Intelligence Committee in charge of the impeachment investigation has “paid off for the party, and for Schiff personally,” Schickler said.

“There’s a long history of members of Congress raising their profiles by leading high-profile hearings. Schiff is providing another example of that.”

Gabrielle Union exit latest NBC debacle, points to ‘massive problem’ at Peacock Network, critics say

After months of withering criticism over a litany of #metoo allegations — from spiking sex assault stories to covering up for inexcusable in-house behavior — NBC is under fire yet again for “protecting powerful men,” this time over the way it handled now-former “America’s Got Talent” judge Gabrielle Union’s controversial departure from the top-rated show.

Variety reported last month that the actress had spoken out against the alleged “toxic” workplace culture at the show before being shown the door, which critics now suggest was an unjust firing.


Linda Vester, an ex-NBC correspondent and former Fox News anchor who has emerged as a #MeToo advocate after accusing NBC News legend Tom Brokaw of sexual misconduct (a claim he denies), has repeatedly called for NBC to investigate the network’s laundry list of alleged cultural issues.

Gabrielle Union’s departure from NBC’s "America's Got Talent" is the latest in a series of issues at the Peacock Network. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

Gabrielle Union’s departure from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” is the latest in a series of issues at the Peacock Network. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

“I think it’s pretty clear that NBC has a massive problem,” Vester told Fox News.

Union reportedly was subject to various racially-motivated criticisms and didn’t appreciate a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno on set. She allegedly urged producers to report the incident to NBC’s human resources department – but the request went ignored.


In recent memory, NBC has been accused of covering for alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, turning a blind eye to former “Today” host Matt Lauer’s sexual misconduct, sitting on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump making lewd comment about women, and shutting down author Sil Lai Abrams’ rape and sexual assault claims, among other allegations.

NBC's Andy Lack, Matt Lauer and Noah Oppenheim were all key figures in Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill.”

NBC’s Andy Lack, Matt Lauer and Noah Oppenheim were all key figures in Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill.”

NBC has denied wrongdoing at every turn, but Vester sees a pervasive issue at the Peacock Network.

“Gabrielle Union is just the latest victim of a toxic pattern of protecting powerful men while silencing women who dare to seek accountability. This is happening in the entertainment division, the news division, the stations division, and on and on,” Vester said.

As negative headlines began to surface and Time’s Up, a prominent women’s advocacy groupslammed NBC for repeatedly “protecting powerful men,” Deadline reported late Monday that Union will speak with NBC executives to discuss the latest scandal.


NBC did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

Vester feels “NBC is rushing to quiet the furor about its culture problem” by meeting with Union directly.

NBC has been accused of covering for alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NBC has been accused of covering for alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

“Hopefully she’ll use the meeting to demand that the network do right by the non-famous female employees in other divisions who are being harassed, discriminated against and retaliated against right now. It’s not just about Gabrielle and ‘AGT,’ it’s all over the network,” Vester said.

Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren recently signed a letter urging the Democratic National Committee to hold NBC accountable for its “toxic culture” after a series of sexual harassment scandals ahead of its Democratic primary debate last month – specifically related to Weinstein and Lauer. The 2020 Democratic candidates failed to force any changes at the network.


After the Weinstein and Lauer bombshells were reported in 2017, NBC News chairman Andy Lack and his top deputy, Noah Oppenheim, famously refused to hire an outside investigator to determine who knew about Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct and whether NBC executives looked the other way.

NBC relied on in-house general counsel Kim Harris despite widespread calls for an outside law firm to conduct the review. She declared that management was completely oblivious.

UltraViolet, a leading national women’s organization, has led protests outside NBC’s New York City headquarters urging an independent investigation – to no avail.

While many NBC critics focus on alleged sexual misconduct issues, Union’s supporters are determined to put a spotlight on discrimination, too.


“For too long, NBCUniversal has enabled toxic workplaces by protecting the careers of powerful men like [former ‘Today’ host] Matt Lauer at the expense of women who speak out and are silenced through non-disclosure agreements,” Time’s Up stated in a petition on Monday. “Now, Gabrielle Union was allegedly fired for speaking up about racist and inappropriate behavior she encountered working on NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Union reportedly endured and witnessed racially-insensitive comments and excessive criticism about her physical appearance, and it also appears she was punished for speaking out.”

Famed television producer Shonda Rhimes tweeted her support for Union, saying “discrimination, harassment & retaliation” have no place at the network.


“I’m joining @TIMESUPNOW in calling on NBC’s leadership to take concrete and long-term action to fix its toxic culture,” Rhimes wrote.

"AGT" hosts Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, and Simon Cowell. (Trae Patton/NBC)

“AGT” hosts Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, and Simon Cowell. (Trae Patton/NBC)

Production company Fremantle, NBC and Simon Cowell’s production company, Syco Entertainment, told People, “’America’s Got Talent’ has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show.”

“The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously,” the statement continued.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.