Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Her Mental Health During a Pandemic

Gabrielle Union has opened up about her PTSD which has been overdriven because of the current situation.

In an interview with Women’s Health, the actress opens up about her mental health. She talked about how like many others, the pandemic has had an impact on her health as well. Gabrielle said that her PTSD has been on a 10 since the global pandemic.

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“The combination of the pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive,” Gabrielle shared in the October issue. She said there is just terror in her body.

The actor has been open about her struggle to overcome PTSD. In a video for The Child Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf campaign, Gabrielle revealed that she was diagnosed with PTSD when she was 19. “Asking for help, needing help doesn’t make you weak or less worthy of love or support or success,” she shared while working on the project. “You can literally be anything you want to be. PTSD isn’t a death sentence.”

The actor says she relies on the coping mechanisms to keep her mind healthy. She explains how she tries to fix her feelings by running through certain situations in her head. The designer said, “I call it my ‘what’s the likelihood of X happening?’ method.”

Gabrielle said if she feels scared of being robbed while going to the store, she would go to a store with witnesses to avoid a situation like that. She continued, “It’s been this way since ’92. It’s just something I do; second nature.”

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“I’m not going to factor in change I have yet to see”

The actress is also grateful for therapy to help her cope with such unpredictable times. She revealed she feels different and freer in her body. Former America’s Got Talent judge is also hopeful about better and equal opportunities that might arise for Black people. However, she still feels there are many more changes that should happen.

“I’m not going to factor in change I have yet to see,” she explained. “For the most part, across all industries, you see the same power structure that existed before George Floyd. All of these initiatives that people are so excited about—if the people at the top haven’t changed, and they’re not interested in creating more space up here, how far are these people that we’re bringing in going?”

Gabrielle was a part of the 14th season of AGT which aired last year. She came in as a judge along with DTWS personality Julianne Hough. None of them were called along for the next season.

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The actress filed a harassment complaint against NBC and Simon Cowell. Gabrielle claims that she was shut out when she tried to report racism. The actress’s lawyer claimed that Paul Telegdy tried to silence her from speaking out about racist actions that took place in AGT.

“When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of racially offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not “stand” with her in “outrage at acts of racism.”‘ lawyer Bryan Freedman began in a statement posted on Twitter. 

Amid the protests of Black Lives Matter, Gabrielle reveals in May that she had been fired from the show last year. She revealed in an interview with Variety that she was compelled to report against the racist jokes Jay Leno made. But she says she was fired when Gabrielle tried to speak about it.

Gabrielle’s Allegations Against AGT

Union has filed complaints against NBC and Simon Cowell production companies. It was filed on Thursday with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

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AGT has previously denied many allegations by Gabrielle Union claiming they practice diversity demonstrated of all cultures. But Freedman’s statement continued: ‘Instead, NBC did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved.”

He explains that instead they stood against her and directed its outrage at Gabrielle. Freedman continues saying Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, actually threatened Union in an attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show.

He explains that there is no place for such racial injustice in the workplace. Freedman said it is going to take more than just a tweet from NBC to assure us that there will not be racial injustice in their work environment.

NBC claimed to stand with outrage with what happened due to racism in the US demonstrations based on colour. Freedman’s complaint comes after this.

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Gabrielle was offered a position as the judge of AGT in 2019. ‘I signed up for the experience of being a part of a show that hails itself as the biggest stage in the world,” Union told Variety.

The higher authorities claimed that her complaints had nothing to do with her getting fired from the show. But Gabrielle reveals that her problems began from day one. She saw Simon Cowell smoking on the set and she wasn’t very pleased. Gabrielle is allergic to cigarette smoke since she was a little girl, which led her to be sick even then.

Gabrielle Says She Got Sick

‘I couldn’t escape. I ended up staying sick for two months straight. It was a cold that lingered, and turned into bronchitis, because I couldn’t shake it. It impacted my voice, which affects my ability to do my job,’ Union said. 

Gabrielle further states that bringing up Cowell’s smoking was a bad choice for her. She told Variety that when you come to the set, you literally meet with the most toxic environment to work in. And it is made toxic by the most powerful men present there.

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The producers told her that there were complaints about Cowell’s smoking in the past, but nothing changed. Gabrielle revealed that after her complaint, Cowell stopped smoking and this issue was not raised again. Cowell started smoking outdoors after learning about her complaints because he did not want to make anyone uncomfortable.

After several weeks, a guest judge, Jay Leno came on sets. He cracked a joke that Cowell’s pets look like food items found on the menu of a Korean restaurant.

Gabrielle reveals that she admires him but was not prepared for his joke.’My first big interview in this industry, the first person who allowed me to come on their talk show, was Jay Leno. I’ve always held him in high regard, but I was not prepared for his joke,’ Union said. 

The producers informed that they would edit that part out. Gabrielle protested saying it is something we experienced. There isn’t an edit button in her brain or her soul, she further explained.

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She had previously said that her producers had told her the way she dresses and her hairstyles were ‘too black’. Gabrielle also reveals that equal attention is not given to all contestants in terms of hair and make up. She points out that it is a recurring problem for the minorities.

In response to the story, NBC, Fremantle, and Syco, which produce America’s Got Talent, released a statement saying they took Union’s concerns seriously and launched an outside investigation with more than 30 interviews. 

Gabrielle’s October issue of Women’s Health magazine is on-stands Sept. 15.


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