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The New “A League of Their Own” Remake TV Show Doesn’t Shy Away From Strong Reputation

The recent Amazon Prime remake “A League of Their Own” demonstrated the highs and lows of what life was like in the 1940s as being a Black transgender man.

It’s Never Too Late To Believe In Yourself: One Woman’s Story Of Going From Retired Banker To MasterChef Winner

Irini Tzortzoglou was bored of retired life, so at the age of 60 she decided to enter the famous cooking competition MasterChef, which she ended up winning. Now, Tzortzoglou is living her best life as a chef, writer, and public speaker.

Almost 80% Of Americans Have Been Exposed To Misinformation Online Regarding Covid-19, Survey Says

Between social media and the plethora of news outlets reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans aren’t sure what information to believe. New data from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 80% of Americans surveyed said they had heard of at least one of the falsehoods perpetuated by online misinformation and either believed it, or were unsure whether or not it was true. 

“Most commonly, six in ten adults have heard that the government is exaggerating the number of Covid-19 deaths by counting deaths due to other factors such as coronavirus deaths and either believe this to be true (38%) or aren’t sure if it’s true or false (22%).”

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“One-third of respondents believe or are unsure whether deaths due to the Covid-19 vaccine are being intentionally hidden by the government (35%), and about three in ten each believe or are unsure whether Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to cause infertility (31%) or whether Ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 (28%),” the authors wrote.

The survey also found that “between a fifth and a quarter of the public believe or are unsure whether the vaccines can give you COVID-19 (25%), contain a microchip (24%), or can change your DNA (21%).”

Outlandish ideas such as vaccine microchips, trackers, or changes to DNA have been reported by “trusted” media outlets and have made a vast impact on many Americans in their choice to get vaccinated or not. 

“People’s trusted news sources are correlated with their belief in COVID-19 misinformation. At least a third of those who trust information from CNN, MSNBC, network news, NPR, and local television news do not believe any of the eight false statements, while small shares (between 11% and 16%) believe or are unsure about at least four of the eight false statements.”

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These results prove that traditional sources of media are helping people separate facts from falsehoods. However, Republicans have made it clear that sources such as CNN and NPR are not to be trusted. 

The survey found that “nearly 4 in 10 of those who trust Fox News (36%) and One America News (37%), and nearly half (46%) of those who trust Newsmax, saying they believe or are unsure about at least half of the eight false statements.”

The researchers cautioned, however, that “whether this is because people are exposed to misinformation from those news sources, or whether the types of people who choose those news sources are the same ones who are pre-disposed to believe certain types of misinformation for other reasons, is beyond the scope of the analysis.”

Post reporter Aaron Blake followed up with Kaiser and concluded that the overall numbers “obscure just how ripe the right is for this kind of misinformation. That’s because, “in most cases, if you exclude Republicans who haven’t heard the claims and focus on just who is familiar with them, a majority of them actually believe the claims.”

David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote “Covid vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults. In the Kaiser research, unvaccinated adults were more likely than vaccinated adults to believe four or more of the eight false statements.”

Capitol in DC

Stephen Colbert Calls Out Trump After His First Rally Since Capitol Riot 

Former president Donald Trump recently held a rally over the weekend in Wellington, Ohio; this marks the first rally Trump has held since the January 6th Capitol riots. Late night host Stephen Colbert recently called out the former president for this, asking the audience who was allowing him to speak in front of people still. 

“Why is he allowed to have rallies after that? After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth wasn’t welcomed to Broadway for a sold-out performance of I Shot Lincoln: The Musical!”

Colbert discussed how the “ex-president appeared to have nothing new to say in his 90-minute speech, as he stumbled through familiar refrains and untruths like he was reading a speech from last summer.” 

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Trump also reemphasized his point that he believes “hydroxychloroquine really works,” in terms of curing Covid-19; a theory that was widely disproven last year. 

“No one cares about that now! We have a vaccine! I can’t imagine anything more tired than the Covid drug from 12 months ago.”

Trump was also called out on social media for badly mispronouncing words and phrases, and essentially speaking complete nonsense. At one point he was attempting to reference Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, by discussing how the “US sent a brave young man from Ohio to a plant.”

“Really? To a plant? Yes, he was a brave young man from Ohio named Jack, and the nation sent him to climb that beanstalk, where he skyrocketed to Feefifofum,” Colbert responded. 

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“He’s trying to talk about Neil Armstrong, but he said plant when he meant planet, which is not where Neil Armstrong went. That’s like trying to describe George Washington by saying, ‘You know who I mean! The guy on the money with the teeth made out of the cherry tree, with the painting of him crossing the Deli-meats, you know!”

Colbert also discussed all the individuals in Trump’s inner circle that are now distancing themselves from any association with the former president and his four year reign in the White House, including daughter Ivanka Trump and former attorney general William Barr. Barr recently discussed how all of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud were “all bullsh*t.” 

Barr recently claimed that Mitch McConnell also urged him to speak out against Trump and the claims of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of the election. Meanwhile the senate minority leader remained completely quiet on the issue himself. 

 “McConnell would’ve spoken the truth himself last December, but he needed the former president’s help to ensure that the GOP won the two runoff elections in Georgia, which they lost. In the end, Mitch McConnell sold his soul for nothing. So, a pretty fair price,”  Colbert explained.

Macys Store

Macy’s Will Hold Their Annual Thanksgiving Parade For TV Exclusively

The holiday season will look a lot different this year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, just because we’re all stuck at home that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate and feel that holiday spirit in a safe and quarantined manner.

Streaming Apps

When Will the Streaming Bubble Burst?

It’s safe to say that film and TV streaming has had a remarkable impact on the media we consume. The draw of “watch anywhere” entertainment has become a fairly everyday concept, though the initial benefit of streaming services was the provision of a simple, one-stop alternative to expensive cable TV packages. However, with so many providers offering such a wide selection of original programming, it may appear that we have now come full circle.

The greatest issue with the current streaming landscape is the expanding wealth of original content that these providers are producing. There shouldn’t be any real reason to complain about such a range of high-quality films and television shows that are currently being produced, but in order to gain access to every “must watch” piece of content, viewers are shelling out a notable monthly bill.

For example, if you want watch shows like The Witcher, Stranger Things, and The Crown in high definition, as well as original, Oscar nominated features like The Irishman and Marriage Story, you’ll need a Netflix subscription priced at $12.99 a month. Want to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys and The Man in the High Castle? That’s another $12.99 for Prime Video. Add in a $6.99 Disney Plus subscription to watch The Mandalorian, $5.99 for basic Hulu to watch The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act, and $4.99 to watch Servant, The Morning Show and See on Apple TV+ – all together you’re spending just under $44 a month.

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This issue isn’t necessarily unique to TV and film services either. Music streaming platforms have been known to release exclusive, or at least timed-exclusive, albums and singles by world-renowned stars such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Drake. Although exclusivity is less common on audio platforms, true music fanatics may need subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and Deezer just to get their fill. Subscription costs also cause problems for sports fans looking to catch up on every game, while the issue of exclusive content is nothing new to the world of video games.

This is not to say that any streaming provider has completely secured the market though. November 2019 saw Disney Plus launch in the U.S. with much anticipated Star Wars spinoff, The Mandalorian, however the platform’s global launch has not yet been completed. The U.K., for example, won’t be able to access the service until the very end of March 2020. As a result, experts have predicted The Mandalorian will become the most pirated series in history, as there are only so many out of context Baby Yoda memes international fans can put up with. For those with the know-how, as well as a disregard for international piracy laws, no content is ever “exclusive”.

The question is what will subscription fees have to rise to before consumers decide it’s too much? Netflix currently has the largest library of original content, going for a very “quantity over quality” approach whilst still producing some very highly rated programming, and despite offering a number of different pricing structures which each provide varying levels of access, it is, on average, one of the most expensive. It therefore seems that Netflix is aware that consumers won’t just gladly subscribe to multiple services, instead banking on the fact that they will pay for just Netflix content, in order to justify semi-regular subscription fee increases and potentially eliminating demand for the competition.

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So could a cross-platform service ever be a possibility? Considering these original series and films are largely being produced by the streaming services themselves, it’s unlikely we will see any bundled options in the near future. Netflix is hardly keen to begin allowing its shows on Apple TV+ when it uses them to justify its own fees. Some shows do have contracts set up between streamers and traditional networks, particularly when it comes to international broadcasting – for example, new episodes of The Good Place air on NBC in the U.S. and are uploaded to Netflix in the U.K. on the same day – but there is little chance of streamers offering such services on a wider scale in a domestic setting.

This all leaves the average viewer in a difficult position – either subscribe to as many services as budget will allow, go without some and make do with missing the next show everyone talks about, or take to the torrent networks. Alternatively, viewers could chose to start and stop subscriptions across platforms as they see necessary, potentially taking advantage of free trials and offers where possible, but this is hardly the best option for either the consumer or the service provider. The reality is that viewers are currently at the whim of the service providers, and the only way to get their attention is to cut them off at the bank.

Netflix

Netflix’s “The Witcher” Eclipses “The Mandalorian” as World’s Most Popular TV Show

The recent launch of Disney Plus was accompanied by a live-action TV show based on the Star Wars universe, which soon became one of the most-watched shows in the world, thanks in part to its adorable alien creature fans have nicknamed “Baby Yoda.” But Netflix, undoubtedly the fiercest competitor to Disney’s new streaming service, has years of experience producing TV shows that capture the attention of critics and audiences alike, and has done so yet again with “The Witcher.” According to the data company Parrot Analytics, “The Witcher” has surpassed Disney’s “The Mandalorian” in popularity, drawing 127 million viewers as opposed to “The Mandalorian’s” 115 million viewers for the week of December 22 to 28. Based on a series of fantasy novels by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, “The Witcher” follows a monster hunter named Geralt of Rivia during his adventures in a medieval world. Though critics gave “The Witcher” a lukewarm reception, audiences flocked to the fantasy show, all but ensuring that Netflix will renew the series for several more seasons.

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A number of factors could explain “The Witcher’s” sudden popularity. For one, audiences may be familiar with the world of “The Witcher” not only from the eight novels that inspired it but from the popular video game series of the same name, sparking their curiosity about how Netflix would handle a live-action adaptation. Additionally, the end of “Game of Thrones” left many viewers unsatisfied, and “The Witcher” provides an opportunity for fans of the genre to immerse themselves in a new fantasy world. Netflix has advertised “The Witcher” prominently, and as of this writing a trailer for the show loads immediately after visiting the website. And while Disney Plus has seen tremendous success in its first few months, many more people have Netflix subscriptions than Disney Plus subscriptions, as the former service has been around for more than a decade. All eight episodes of the show’s first season were released on December 20th in keeping with Netflix’s tradition of releasing all episodes of a season at once to facilitate binge-watching. “The Mandalorian’s” first season also had eight episodes, but these episodes were released weekly, with the season finale premiering on December 27th. The success of both shows demonstrates that both release models are viable for attracting large audiences, though most viewers likely prefer Netflix’s approach as it allows for instant gratification.

Despite the show’s popularity, reviewers had a number of complaints about “The Witcher.” Overall, it holds a 59% approval rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who criticized the show for failing to establish a convincing, believable fantasy environment and for its “boring” characters. Critics also complained that the show is poorly paced and features excessively convoluted storylines, which are particularly hard to follow for people unfamiliar with the books or video games. General audiences were more approving of the show, as “The Witcher” holds a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the series’ high production values, engaging action sequences, and the audience’s familiarity with the source material, it is perhaps not surprising that “The Witcher” ended up being a crowd-pleaser. 

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Unlike “The Witcher,” both audiences and critics approved of Disney’s “The Mandalorian,” as viewers around the world fell in love with the show’s infant alien character. On Rotten Tomatoes, “The Mandalorian” has a 94% approval rating among critics and a 93% audience approval rating, indicating near-universal acclaim. Viewers praised “The Mandalorian” for its compelling characters, its engaging action sequences, and its adherence to the style of the Star Wars universe. Considering that “The Mandalorian” was likely the most successful aspect of the launch of Disney Plus, Disney is likely to continue to produce the series for some time. That being said, as a result of “The Witcher’s” early success among audiences and the vast expanse of narrative content available for adaptation, both shows are likely to continue for many years to come. 

TV

Is The ‘Ellen Appeal’ Starting to Fade?

Ellen DeGeneres certainly wasn’t prepared for the backlash she received after inviting Dakota Johnson to her show.

Following on from a year of criticism, DeGeneres asked about Johnson’s recent birthday party, asking her “how was the party? I wasn’t invited.” Clearly expecting an apology, DeGeneres looks surprised when Johnson replies “actually no, that’s not the truth Ellen, you were invited.” Johnson then went on to explain that DeGeneres had given her a lot of hassle the previous year for not being invited so she had made sure she was invited this year, and she did not come.

DeGeneres then continued to question Johnson asking, “this time you invited me? Are you sure? How do you know, I don’t think so.”

Clearly expecting Johnson to backtrack, DeGeneres looks shocked when Johnson told her to “ask everybody…ask Jonathan your producer.” Off screen, Jonathan confirms Johnson’s story, and DeGeneres then states she did not go because she “had that thing.”

While social media went mad about the awkward conversation — and the clip going viral — some online detectives dug deeper to find out where DeGeneres was. And it was not a pleasant discovery as her location was the subject of a previous issue DeGeneres had to deal with earlier in the year: a day at a football match with ‘war criminal’ George W. Bush.

Ellen DeGeneres has been the epitome of niceness throughout her 25 year career, first as a stand-up comedian, which followed her ground-breaking sitcom and finally, her current role as chat show host. However people, especially those in Los Angeles, are starting to wonder if all is as it seems.

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Rumors have been floating around for some time that DeGeneres’ personality is far more insincere than that of her on-screen persona. This is not something that would be a major issue if not for the fact she portrays herself as someone who is immensely liked throughout the industry, the American public, and the world, thanks to her ‘niceness.’

However this aspect of DeGeneres has been questioned several times over the years, moreso this year than any other in recent times. It has been commented that DeGeneres has wrapped herself in a bubble that seems to be withdrawing her from the actualities of what is happening around her.

And in a shocking turn of events, it seems that many internet users feel such a great depth of animosity that there is a high level of satisfaction at DeGeneres being ‘put in her place’ on her own show.

With the rise of awareness surrounding mental health issues — DeGeneres has talked a lot about her own troubles with depression — it is worrying to see so many people wanting DeGeneres to be humiliated in public, even if, as some say, it was a reaction to her seemingly trying to embarrass Johnson in the first place.

Many people are asking how someone who has done so much good work ensuring homosexuality is portrayed positively in the mainstream, someone who is incredibly gifted at their trade – both on television and in film – appears to have become so out of touch with her adoring fans?

Following rumors of her being mean to members of her staff, DeGeneres denied everything in an interview:

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“It’s an outright lie. The first day I said ‘The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don’t work here.’ No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That’s the rule to this day.”

While this has been seen to be a rule that encourages happiness within her staff, it can also be interpreted that if you are not proud of where you work you will be fired.

However, she has admitted that her on-screen personality is far nicer than her off-screen stating “the talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host. There’s a tiny, tiny bit of difference.” That tiny bit of difference was apparent when she clearly felt defensive over Johnson’s responses.

Yet this is not the first time this year DeGeneres has faced criticism, in fact it is not even the second. Back in January Kevin Hart was asked to step down from hosting the Oscars after homophobic jokes were discovered in his past stand-up shows. The comedian and actor came under fire due to his joke that if he caught his son playing with a dolls house he would smash it over his head as it would be a sign that he was gay.

Following the widespread criticism he received, DeGeneres tried to claim that the outrage was merely ‘internet trolls’ being unkind, something that surprised everyone, especially considering the amount of pain she had to deal with following the fall out of her announcing she was gay in 1997. Petitions to have ABC cancel her sitcom, merely because she was gay, as well as being called ‘Ellen Degenerate’ caused her to experience public rejection, something she has had difficulties overcoming.

DeGeneres also experienced severe criticism over her friendship with George W. Bush with many slating her choice of friends. However, her comment that “just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them” also received praise, including a hastily deleted tweet from Reese Witherspoon.

Marvel

Marvel TV To Be Absorbed Into Marvel Studios

Marvel Television will be disappearing within the next year. The television aspect of Marvel will instead be absorbed into Marvel Studios, and any TV projects that are currently in production will remain until their intended end, but any future projects will be cancelled. Marvel Television’s head Jeph Loeb stated earlier in the month that he was already departing from the company; that combined with an overall decrease in their television viewership, the decision to shut down came rather naturally, however, it still has shocked a lot of people. 

A portion of the Marvel Television staff is gearing up for the significant layoffs that are soon to come after this announcement. Deadline Magazine reports that executive heads that are bracing for impact include Cort Lane, Marsha Griffin, Mark Ambrose, Tom Lieber and Aimee Carlson. Marvel Studios executives, including Senior Vice President of Programming and Production Karim Zreik and a member from his team, will be stepping in to overlook the remainder Marvel Television productions that are still set to be released and produced. 

While sources do say that the television studio should expect a series of layoffs, they also state that many of the TV staff will be reassigned within the overarching Marvel Studios company, and will also continue working as their current positions for the remainder of the shows that need producing. This includes four previously announced animated series, a live-action version of Helstrom which will be streaming exclusively on Hulu, and the final season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” panel during the 2019 D23 Expo

“The decision has been made to complete Marvel TV projects that are currently in production, but not continue with any further development. This news follows months of turmoil and uncertainty at Marvel TV with a number of animated and live-action shows teetering or canned, the exit of longtime small screen chief [Jeph] Loeb and the further expansion of big screen boss Kevin Feige’s fiefdom,” A source said from the TV division Tuesday.

The “teetering or canned” programs refer to a multitude of shows that heavily lost viewership within the past year, causing many cancellations. For example, Netflix’s Marvel series including Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher, have all been cancelled after their first or second seasons. In addition, as previously mentioned, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be premiering for it’s final season, and it was one of the most successful out of all the Marvel Television series, especially for prime time. 

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The decision also likely stems from the creation of Disney Plus; as Marvel is owned by Disney, so all future endeavors with Marvel Studios will likely be made exclusive for the streaming platform as opposed to the multitude of other platforms Marvel Television has premiered their shows on. There’s also speculation as to the many upcoming Marvel television productions that were promised from the company along with the announcement of Disney Plus. However, Marvel Studios is likely to continue to take on these projects while working through the transition. 

“New upcoming original Marvel shows on the recently launched Disney+ streaming service like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had already been placed under Fiege’s mandate before he was anointed Chief Creative Officer in October,” Deadline reports

Kevin Fiege is the President of Marvel Studios, and as stated above, back in October of this year he took on the title of Chief Creative Officer, meaning it’s his duty to oversee all creative and storyline initiatives in the future for Marvel Studios. This means Fiege will likely be in charge of all the television programs that are still to come from the Studio exclusively. For now, only time will tell what the massive entertainment corporation has in store for viewers.

Stage Camera

‘Fired’ Gabrielle Union Criticizes America’s Got Talent

America’s Got Talent has seen the judging panel change many times over the last 13 years with the majority leaving on good terms. However Gabrielle Union’s recent departure, after only two months on the show, has come under scrutiny.

Since joining the popular show, Union had started to have concerns, which she highlighted to the NBC executives, including those who ran the show, highlighting issues including what she saw as attempts to misgender contestants, alleged racist incidents and producer Simon Cowell’s constant habit to smoke indoors.

Two months into the producer and actress’s contract Union was invited to a meeting with Simon Cowell. The music mogul discussed her concerns regarding the show but asked her to talk directly to himself with her issues rather than with the NBC executives. However she had been speaking to the executives, including those in charge of the show, who, according to sources, would attempt to soothe her with promises they would investigate her worries before ignoring them completely.

So when Union finally got to talk with Cowell she was incredibly infuriated with the environment and his orders not to talk to NBC was interpreted as him trying to cover up some serious problems.

Last week NBC cut short Union’s 3 year tenure with the show after just one season with several sources claiming it was due to her being seen as ‘difficult’ by Cowell and his team. However Julianne Hough was dropped at the same time which could contradict these claims.

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America’s Got Talent has seen several female judges come and go over recent years as it tries to retain their share of the viewing figures. Not only has host Tyra Banks been replaced, so have judges Heidi Klum and Spice Girl Mel B. However the two male judges, Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel, have remained on the show.

Sources states that claims Union was fired are incorrect, rather commenting that she was ‘rotated out’. While the show does like to change the judges often to maintain a fresh appearance, previous judges were retained for several seasons before they left.

Last week Variety reported on several of the complaints from Union, including an allegedly racist joke from Jay Leno who was appearing as a guest judge. In season 14 a painting was shown on camera of Simon Cowell and his dogs. Leno commented that the painting ‘looked like something on the menu at a Korean restaurant’. Not only was Union shaken by the remark, an Asian member of staff who was also on the set seemed to be upset. When Union requested the footage not be included in the show she started to gain her reputation for being ‘difficult’.

A list of questions regarding Union’s departure was sent to NBC Entertainment and Fremantle who produce America’s Got Talent who commented,

“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.”

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It was also alleged that Union annoyed producers, as well as Cowell, almost from the moment she started on the show due to her complaints regarding Cowell smoking inside the theater during filming. With few walls between dressing rooms, cigarette smoke drifted into Union’s dressing room. It is worth noting that California law – where the auditions were being held – forbids an employer to allow smoking in an enclosed work space.

Despite Union’s requests that smoking be stopped inside, due to her allergy to cigarette smoke, she was repeatedly turned down. A source claims an NBC executive informed her that despite the crew, staff, and talent’s annoyance, Simon Cowell had been smoking indoors for years. With NBC giving the majority of America’s Got Talent’s control to Cowell there was little they could do to stop him as all decisions regarding the show had to have his approval first.

Union further frustrated executives when she asked drag contestants which pronoun they preferred as well as an incident when an Italian male contestant wore black gloves when doing a Beyoncé impression.

Concerned the gloves were being used to highlight the skin tone changing, or ‘blackface hands’ as Union referred to them, Union chose not to put the contestant through. The act was never included in the show.

It appears that the incident that caused the most damage involved Dylan Gilmer, a 10 year old black rapper. Two sources have alleged that in a meeting with producers the team decided the show required an act ‘that America can get behind’. Their decision for that act to be an all white dance group from Texas rather than Gilmer, who gained a far greater response from the audience, caused Union to object.

However sources have denied the producers commented on the need to choose such an act, saying they would never use that choice of language.

After meeting with Cowell at his home last May the decision to drop Union was made during the break between season 14 and 15 leaving Union to look at her legal options against NBC.