And among those voicing their discontent was Tom Bergeron, the show’s longtime host.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Bergeron recalled that he met with the show’s executive producer several months ago and expressed “my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably decisive booking from ANY political affiliations.”
“I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement,” he added.
Bergeron wouldn’t be happy for long.
“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction,'” he 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.”
“I’ll leave it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions,” he added.
“For me, as host, I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with,” Bergeron wrote, “even if I occasionally season it with dad jokes.”
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
In his Twitter post, Bergeron did not mention Spicer by name. But he didn’t hesitate to do so in a Sirius XM interview later in the day.
“Dancing, at its best, is an oasis, away from all the divisiveness and all the stuff we are wrestling with right now,” Bergeron told “Entertainment Weekly Live,” according to People.
He also called Spicer a “political lightning rod” and said his “preference” would have been for the former Trump administration press secretary not be a contestant.
“That was a call they made, and my job as host, to the best of my ability, is to be Switzerland for those two hours a week,” Bergeron said. “For the other 166 hours a week, I am pretty clear where I stand politically.”
Spicer, who served in the Trump administration from January to July 2017, was announced as a contestant on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I was kicked out of band in sixth grade and the quote was, ‘You have the sense of beat of a steamroller,'” Spicer said.
Bergeron, for his part, made light of one of Spicer’s more controversial moments as press secretary, when the then-press secretary argued with the news media over the size of the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“The nice thing is, Sean will be in charge of assessing audience size,” Bergeron joked, according to Fox News.
But some observers didn’t think Spicer’s inclusion on the show was anything to laugh about.
“Why Is Failed Professional Liar Sean Spicer on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?” a Vice headline asked.
“Sean Spicer’s celebrity is proof we are doing it wrong,” CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote.
Others expressed similar sentiments.
For 6 months, Sean Spicer served as White House Press Secretary to the most vile “president” in modern history. In that time, he repeatedly lied, obfuscated, and endorsed the badgering of a free press. He enabled hatred.
He belongs on a public blacklist, not in a waltz.#DWTS
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 21, 2019
Sean Spicer on #DWTS is an example of what will happen to every Trump enabler. They will all fail up. Every single one. It’s shameful and people will hate reading that but that’s how DC works. It’s a revolving door. You’ll see a rehabilitation tour of every one within 2 years.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 21, 2019
Normalizing a professional liar. Who supported and lied for a bigot and a racist. Why anyone would support a project that stars Sean Spicer is beyond me. https://t.co/vmGMR286pI
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) August 21, 2019
Spicer, for his part, seems to be taking it all in stride.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) August 21, 2019
“It’s time to have some fun. Excited to join a great cast and show,” he tweeted.
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