Karamo Brown is getting ready for a delicate dance on Dancing With the Stars.
The Queer Eye star will join the new season of the ABC reality competition in a cast that includes former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
The announcement that the gay Netflix mentoring guru would join Trump's former mouthpiece on DWTS sparked mixed feelings among fans. "I'm actually disappointed in @Karamo for lending his celebrity to this," wrote Twitter user @Mandabald.
Brown responded to the disappointed user on the social media platform, saying he looked forward to having "respectful conversations" with the Republican.
"First, I have no say who is on the cast and didn’t find out till this morning that he is on! But I’ll tell you this... I’m excited to sit down w/ him and engage in a respectful conversations. Only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us," Brown tweeted.
In response, many concerned users pointed out the difficulties of having a discourse with a public figure whose legacy is spreading mistruths to the public; one of Spicer's first acts as press secretary was spreading false reports of Trump's inauguration crowd size. Others pointed out the dangers of Brown using his platform to try and rehabilitate Spicer's public image.
as long as that conversation ends up with Spicer in tears, vowing to use his money and platform to help repair the damage he did to this country by propping up authoritarian lies, i'm ok with it. otherwise he can gtfoh.
— eric sorenson (@ahpook) August 21, 2019
perhaps you could #TakeAKnee for your first performance to show that you don't tolerate fascist enablers getting cute tv makeovers, because many of us will never forget the negative impact he's had on our democracy.
— joe sinness (@joesinness) August 21, 2019
No this is my an episode of QE where you play nice music and hug at the end, you need to take a stand. He’s going to lie and try to get on the public’s good side. You’re going to get used and made a fool of
— L'Étoile (@letoiIe) August 21, 2019
This is not Brown's first act of reaching across the aisle. The reality star met with the staff of Second Lady Karen Pence in April 2018 to the chagrin of his Queer Eye costar, Jonathan Van Ness. "It was phenomenal to be able to go in there and discuss arts, but also to speak about LGBT issues," Brown told Vulture.
Van Ness, referencing Vice President Mike Pence's strong antigay record, retorted, "She's our biggest fan, she watches us every night. Her and Dad like to watch it every night in their modesty outfits, but they watch it completely separated because it's improper to look at each other face to face while you watch gay men."
Brown also made headlines in April 2019 for skipping the Queer Eye cast's visit with Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. At the time, Brown nodded to his absence with an elliptical tweet suggesting a political divide between himself and castmates Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, and Bobby Berk.
"The thing I love about the #Fab5 the most is that we all don’t hold the same view but we respect each other and the process," Brown tweeted. "For me, its important to champion leaders who understand the importance of speaking the truth and who also understand that our democracy is a bipartisan system & in order to see sustainable change."
“U must find a way to work w/ the other side while not disrespecting your own party.”
In addition to Brown and Spicer, the new season of DWTS will include James Van Der Beek, Kate Flannery, country singer Lauren Alaina, Fifth Harmony's Ally Brooke, supermodel Christie Brinkley, former NFL player Ray Lewis, comedian Kel Mitchell, and Mary Wilson of The Supremes. It premieres September 16 on ABC.