After ‘GMA’ host Lara Spencer appeared to laugh at Prince George’s love of ballet, professional dancers Derek Hough and Cheryl Burke weren’t having it — and called Lara out on Instagram!
Prince George has a variety of interests, just like any normal six-year-old — including a love of dance! In a Good Morning America segment on Thursday, August 22, host Lara Spencer discussed the young Prince’s activities, saying, “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.” The host, 50, then appeared to hold back laughter, before adding, “Prince William says Prince George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you, Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts. I mean…between the religious studies and the computer programming, [he may] just want to go back to the Play-Doh!”
The reaction to her insensitive response went viral on social media, and former Dancing with the Stars cast member Derek Hough took note. “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,” Hough, 34, wrote in a post on Friday, August 23. “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.” The dancer continued, “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.” Derek, who originally joined DTWS back in 2007, comes from a multi-generational family of dancers, and has been actively performing since he was a young boy.
His former co-star Cheryl Burke, 35, also clapped back. “So happy to hear that Prince William supports his son George’s love of ballet! It’s so important to encourage young boys and girls to explore whatever activities and creative outlets they’re drawn to. I’ve spoken before about how much dance helped and taught me growing up, and I found it disheartening to hear a young boy laughed at,” Burke shared. “I would encourage @lara.spencer and others who share that mentality to be mindful of how your words and laughter can affect young boys who want to pursue the art of dance. It’s a shame that this discussion wasn’t used as an opportunity to encourage him, and rather to poke fun at him on national television. I hope that this instead shines a light on a problem in society and creates a dialogue about why an accepted reaction to this heartfelt news was joking and laughter.”
Lara — who is a mom of two herself and once dressed up as the Prince for Halloween — quickly apologized on her own Instagram account after the public backlash. “My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday. From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT,” she wrote on Friday, August 23. “I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain-and love every minute of it.”
Derek and Cheryl concluded their posts with similar words, encouraging young boys to “follow your bliss” and “take a chance.”