Simon Cowell Introduced as Animal Sanctuary Ambassador amid America's Acquired Expertise Scandal

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As public outrage over Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough‘s controversial exits from America’s Acquired Expertise simmers, sequence creator Simon Cowell has introduced a brand new charitable enterprise.

On Wednesday, X Issue winner Leona Lewis revealed that Cowell had been named one among 4 new movie star ambassadors for Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, which goals to supply a secure and loving residence for abused, deserted and uncared for animals and promote humane conduct in direction of animals all over the world.

RELATED: Simon Cowell’s $32.6K Donation Helps Saves 200 Canine and Shut Down Canine Meat Farm

“As an enormous animal lover when Leona advised me concerning the work that they’re doing at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary I instantly jumped on the probability to assist help,” stated Cowell, 60, in a press release. “The fervour that I felt from Leona was immense and the way in which she described a few of the particular person rescue tales to me has made a huge effect.”

“They supply a secure residence for over 500 animals on 53 acres in Essex and are positively altering the lives of animals that might in any other case have very completely different tales,” he continued. “I’m excited to be an envoy for them and assist convey consciousness to their work. Leona can’t do that alone and can need assistance from others who additionally love animals. Any help will probably be a lot appreciated and can make a distinction.”

The announcement comes after information broke on Nov. 22 that Hough and Union — who joined the season 14 AGT judging panel in February, changing spots vacated by Mel B and Heidi Klumwouldn’t be returning for the present’s 15th season. (It has but to be introduced who will exchange them.)

On Nov. 26, a report by Selection claimed that whereas engaged on the present, Union had expressed considerations over racially insensitive conditions throughout her time as a choose, together with a joke allegedly made by visitor choose Jay Leno that was later edited out of the episode.

In accordance with Selection, Leno, 69, allegedly joked a couple of portray on the wall that featured Cowell — who serves as a choose and government producer — surrounded by his canines. Present sources advised the outlet he joked the canines seemed like one thing one would discover “on the menu at a Korean restaurant,” alluding to the stereotype that every one Asian folks eat canine meat.

A number of individuals who had been on set in the course of the joke, Selection reported, together with one Asian staffer, had been offended and made uncomfortable by it.

RELATED: Howard Stern Slams Simon Cowell Over Gabrielle Union’s Controversial AGT Firing

After studying of the joke, Union, 47, allegedly urged producers to report it to NBC’s human sources division, three sources advised Selection. Regardless of her push, a number of insiders advised the outlet that it was by no means addressed by HR. It was ultimately lower by producers from the Aug. 6 episode.

Union and Hough, 31, had been additionally each topic to “extreme notes” on their bodily look, sources alleged in Selection‘s report. (Hough has denied having a destructive expertise on the present.)

Leno’s rep has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for remark, however the comic addressed the scenario with a TMZ cameraman earlier this week.

“I really like Gabrielle Union,” he stated. “She’s an important lady. I actually loved working along with her. She’s actually good.”

Requested if she was handled pretty on the present, Leno stated, “I don’t know … however I feel she’s an important lady.”

RELATED: Eva Longoria Slams NBC as She Helps Gabrielle Union After Controversial AGT Firing

Cowell — who final yr donated $32,600 to assist save 200 canines and shut down a canine meat farm in South Korea — has in a roundabout way addressed the controversy, however on Dec. 1, his firm Syco Leisure, which produces AGT, launched the next joint assertion with NBC and manufacturing firm Fremantle: “We stay dedicated to making sure a respectful office for all staff and take very critically any questions on office tradition. We’re working with Ms. Union by means of her representatives to listen to extra about her considerations, following which we are going to take no matter subsequent steps could also be acceptable.”

NBC and Fremantle beforehand responded to the allegations in Selection‘s report in a Nov. 26 assertion to PEOPLE, saying, “America’s Acquired Expertise has a protracted historical past of inclusivity and variety in each our expertise and the acts championed by the present. The judging and host line-up has been often refreshed through the years and that is among the causes for AGT’s enduring recognition. NBC and the producers take any points on set critically.”

RELATED: Sharon Osbourne Manufacturers America’s Acquired Expertise a Boys’ Membership and Says ‘NBC Can Kiss My Ass’

Union has not issued an official assertion straight addressing the allegations, however she thanked followers for his or her help on Nov. 27.

“So many tears, a lot gratitude,” she tweeted. “THANK YOU! Simply once you really feel misplaced, adrift, alone… you bought me up off the bottom. Humbled and grateful, eternally.”

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