Val Chmerkovskiy Says ‘Good Morning America’ Host Called Him To Apologize After On-Air Gaffe

Val Chmerkovskiy attends the Monster Energy $50K Charity Challenge Celebrity Basketball Game at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on July 08, 2019 in Westwood, California.
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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.”

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“Look out give the kid some room he’s taking over again…” . This scene is incredible to me, and is exactly the confidence and bravado that dance gave me. For those that have never seen this film, this character escaped reality of his harsh surroundings because of his love for dance. It was his “way out” and ultimately he did make it out, unlike his friends.. On another note, whether you grow up to be a doctor, lawyer, painter, civil servant, superstar athlete, regardless of profession you aspire to have DANCE is incredible for you. The relationship you build with your body, your creativity,the confidence it gives you to be able to speak in public, etc… I highly recommend and will always do so, for parents to put their kids into dance.

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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.

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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.

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I saw a clip from @goodmorningamerica this morning and I was pretty surprised by the tone of some comments towards dance. My initial response was disappointment. For a brief moment it brought up old unpleasant memories of being mocked and laughed at for being a boy who danced. Fortunately that feeling dissipated quickly in knowing that the climate of dance, especially for young men in this generation is thriving more than ever, celebrated and appreciated . A young boy training in an athletic art form that requires an insane amount of discipline, strength, agility, flexibility, speed, dedication, awareness of mind, body, soul and creativity doesn’t seem like something to laugh about . I understand that comments like the one made here on television were probably light hearted and just a little banter. I get it. I know everyone at gma including @lara.spencer and I’m sure the intention wasn’t to be hurtful. But I also just think we are in a new era and time, especially for dance and it’s perception. The tone and mockery towards dance is just dated, old and not relevant anymore. Those who mock don’t understand. I’m proud to be a dancer and I strongly encourage any, who would like to try. So if there are any young kids out there who have a passion to pursue dance, don’t be discouraged by those who might laugh or make fun, tease or taunt. Follow your passion, take a chance on yourself and remember, that when you are courageous enough to listen to your inner voice rather than the voices (that only you can allow) to tear you down, you will always win. Follow your bliss and you will always have the last laugh:) Nothing but love and encouragement ????????#dance #encourage #create #dontHate #community

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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.