Just hours after Dancing With the Stars unveiled its Season 28 cast Wednesday morning, controversy erupted over one of the celebrities booked to take part in the competition.
While the show’s longtime host, Tom Bergeron, smiled and offered kind words on the set of Good Morning America as the new cast was introduced, he took to Twitter hours later to slam producers for “divisive bookings.”
Bergeron didn’t mention names, but he was obviously referring to President Trump’s former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. The TV host revealed he previously met with the new executive producer of DWTS and expressed concerns about controversial castings.
“Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return 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,” Bergeron wrote in a lengthy statement.
He added that he “left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.” But on Wednesday he found out producers decided to brush aside his advice.
“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction,’” the TV host added. “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. We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call.”
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
Spicer released a statement to the media Thursday in response to Bergeron’s concerns.
“I think Tom has been a great host. And I firmly believe when the season is over he’s probably going to realize bringing a diverse group of people together, who can interact in a fun, civil and respectful way, is actually a way we can move the country forward in a positive way,” he said.
Dancing With the Stars returns to ABC on Sept. 16. Below is the full Season 28 cast list:
Lauren Alaina – country music star
Christie Brinkley – supermodel
Ally Brooke – pop star
Hannah Brown – The Bachelorette
Karamo Brown – TV host
Kate Flannery – TV star
Ray Lewis – NFL Hall of Famer
Kel Mitchell – comedian/actor
Lamar Odom – two-time NBA champion
Sean Spicer – former White House press secretary
James Van Der Beek – TV icon
Mary Wilson – The Supremes