Soon after the cast for the new season of Dancing With the Stars was announced Wednesday, a call to boycott the reality competition began trending on Twitter. Social media users expressed outrage over former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's inclusion in the new season with many calling him out for “lying” to the American people.
Another new cast member, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, said he’s “excited” about Spicer’s inclusion on the show and that he looks forward to having “respectful conversations” with him. But Tom Bergeron, the show’s host of 27 seasons, called out the producers for casting the politically charged figure.
“A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS's new Executive Producer, I offered suggestions for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its returning following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement,” Bergeron wrote in a Twitter post.
“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.’ It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long-term interests of the franchise,” Bergeron added. “We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll let it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions.”
On social media, Twitter users calling for a boycott of DWTS expressed anger over the role Spicer played in propagating Donald Trump’s hateful agenda and lambasting the producers for “normalizing” Spicer and handing him a platform to rehabilitate his image.
Spicer, who helped fuel discord in the country while working for Trump, responded to Bergeron’s comments with a call for respect and healing the divide.
“My hope is that at the end of the season, Tom looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together to have fun with each other, engage in a real civil and respectful way, and maybe show millions of Americans how we can get back to that kind of interaction,” Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter.
Amid the calls for a boycott of the show and pushback against his willingness to have a dialogue with Spicer, Brown doubled down and referred to the former White House press secretary “a good guy; a really sweet guy.” Social media users then lambasted Brown for defending Spicer.
Other new DWTS cast members include former supermodel Christie Brinkley, NBA star Lamar Odom, NFL star Ray Lewis, and Motown legend Mary Wilson.