Val Chmerkovskiy Says ‘Good Morning America’ Host Called Him To Apologize After On-Air Gaffe
Dancing With the Stars professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy said that Lara Spencer, a host of Good Morning America, called him personally to apologize for her on-air gaffe where she appeared to mock the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince George, for taking ballet classes.
In response to Spencer’s comment about the prince’s rigorous school curriculum, which included ballet, the DWTS pro posted to Instagram in late August that boys can dance too. He told Us Weekly in a new interview that Spencer called him personally to apologize after her statement aired.
“I told her this too, out of this, came this entire community coming together and celebrating male dancers,” he said in an interview with Us Weekly. “I appreciated that more than I focused on my discourse toward Lara. I know the type of person she is. … Why aren’t we celebrating male dancers without Lara, the controversy? But it’s nice how it all came around. There was a backlash, there was a conversation, then there was a resolution.”
Chmerkovskiy, whose brother Maks, sister-in-law Peta Murgatroyd, and wife Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy are all professional dancers, revealed that the words the GMA host used likely affected him more because he recalled being bullied in middle school because he too was a dancer.
He then told the news outlet that Spencer was “devastated” by the reaction her statement caused and that she was apologetic. The pro dancer also stated that he didn’t think that Spencer’s intentions were to belittle Prince George’s love for ballet, rather that she just misstep with an on-air gaffe.
Spencer corrected herself on-air one week after her original comments aired, talking directly to viewers to address the situation on August 26.
“I have listened, I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance,” Spencer said, referring to her original statement. She then revealed she hoped that her negative comment could turn into a positive celebration of the art of dance.
The longtime GMA host then revealed an interview she had conducted with male dancers Robbie Fairchild, Travis Wall, and Fabrice Calmels, who spoke of times when they were made fun of as young boys because of their love of dancing.
Spencer’s original comments spoke of the rigorous school workload the young prince, who has just entered second grade, had to take, including math, science, history, religious studies, computer programming, poetry, and ballet.
The backlash against Spencer’s comments was swift, with many of today’s most prominent male dance figures taking to social media to support one another, including Chmerkovskiy’s former Dancing With the Stars castmate, Derek Hough. Deadline reported that legendary dancer Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, also responded to the controversy in an open letter about her feelings regarding male dancers.