Howard Stern has condemned Simon Cowell for his alleged treatment of women on television.

The radio host spoke out on Monday on The Howard Stern Show amid reports that Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough have been dropped from America’s Got Talent after one season as judges.

“How is it that that freak Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?” Stern asked of the British TV star, who created America’s Got Talent and whose company, Syco Entertainment, produces the show.

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“He has set it up that the men stay no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how ugly they are – no matter how talentless they are.”

Stern, who appeared on the show as a judge between 2012 and 2015 and is best-known as a shock jock, added: “What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Which is so obvious.”

It was reported earlier this month that Hough and Union wouldn’t return to the NBC show.

Union reportedly sought network action to address a workplace environment that allegedly allowed racist comments and other troubling behaviour, according to a previous report by Variety.

Her husband, former NBA player Dwyane Wade, weighed in on Twitter, saying he’d yet to hear a good reason why his wife “was being fired”.

In a statement, NBC and series producer Fremantle defended what they called the show’s “long history of inclusivity and diversity.”

“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 companies said.

The judging panel has changed since the show’s 2006 debut, but most judges’ tenures have lasted at least several years, including that of Sharon Osbourne, Mel B and Stern himself.

Union appeared to thank those who have supported her in a tweet last week, writing: “Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone... you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”

Syco Entertainment told People in a joint statement with NBC and Fremantle on Sunday: ”We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture.” The statement added: “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

It's understood Cowell's team believe the claims are without foundation.

Additional reporting by agencies

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