Good Morning America host Lara Spencer sparked outrage on Thursday (Aug 22) after mocking 6 year old Prince William, the future king of England, for enjoying ballet lessons. She apologized via Instagram on Saturday. On Monday, Spencer apologized to the GMA audience for her comments.
“I screwed up,” she says, “The comment I made about dance was insensitive, stupid and I am deeply sorry.”
She spoke with several members of the dance community, over the past few days, including SYTYCD and DWTS choreographer and Emmy winner, Travis Wall. “I have listened, I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance.”
Spencer sat down with Travis, Robbie Fairchild (Cats) and Fabrice Calmels (Joffrey Ballet) to share personal stories and encourage boys to dance.
Travis has earned 9 Emmy nominations for his work on the FOX dance competition, So You Think You Can Dance. He explained to Spencer how the show has helped lift the stigma for boys in dance. “How many boys have started to dance because of that show makes me so proud to represent …[SYTYCD]” he added, “…the message I was trying to get across is that I want more boys to dance.”
“We make such beautiful art and create such beautiful moments. I wish the world would dance more,” Travis added. His advice to boys who love to dance, but may be afraid to “dive in”: “I think you have to avoid the noise,” he said. “Use that as inspiration…it always gets better.”
Spencer ended the interview with another apology, “For me the lesson is that words hurt. It was not my intention, but it was insensitive, and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to apologize personally to you…I’m really sorry.” All three dancers accepted her apology.
In case you missed it, here is the GMA segment that started the controversy.
“The future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things,” Spencer said during Thursday’s GMA Pop News segment. “Prince William says Prince George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you, Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts. I mean, he might! He might end up … Between the religious studies and the computer programming, I just want to go back to the Play-Doh!”
Actually, the entire room erupts in laughter over the idea of young Prince George enjoying ballet. The entire morning crew should apologize. BOYS DANCING HA HA HA. Hm.
Here’s the Instagram post from Travis that preceded Spencer reaching out to him. He explains ining how he was bullied as a kid for studying dance. “Boys dance too,” he said as advice to boys who want to dance. “Shut out that laughter.” He calls Spencer a bully. “The next time you want to laugh at a child for taking a dance class…look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be a bully today.”
Before the segment aired this morning, Travis taught a dance class outside of the GMA studios. “300 dancers showed up for a ballet class this morning in Times Square,” Travis wrote on Instagram. “Getting to teach young men and women and getting to share stories was one of the most beautiful mornings I’ve ever had! I love our dance community!!! #voicesheard #ballet #boysdancetoo #ilovedance”