The blue checkmark mafia has been throwing a collective temper tantrum this week over ABC booking former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”
“The cynicism and carelessness it took to hire Sean Spicer … God, it’s all just so depressing honestly,” said comedian Billy Eichner.
“I’m not ready to laugh ‘with’ Sean Spicer. I think he is an evil, opportunistic liar that hurt our country,” said former “Scrubs” star Zach Braff.
“[Sean Spicer] can normalize himself in good fun, but he still passionately advocated against human rights, health care, & American values,” tweeted Kal Penn of “Harold & Kumar” fame.
“Sean Spicer’s celebrity is proof we are doing it wrong,” said Chris Cillizza of CNN.
According to Deadline, the backlash became so intense that “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron issued a statement in which he offered a veiled criticism of ABC for booking Spicer, asserting that he offered the suggestions to the network so that this season “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate.”
“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 inevitable divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations,” said Bergeron. “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.”
ABC issued a brief statement from executive producer Andrew Llinares, who said: “We’ve got a great and diverse cast. We are excited about the season.”
Sean Spicer has since responded to the backlash. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the former White House press secretary said he hopes the show will be a “politics-free zone.”
“I hope it will be a politics-free zone,” he said. “My hope is that at the end of the season, Tom looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together to have fun with each other, engage in a real civil and respectful way and maybe show millions of Americans how we can get back to that kind of interaction.”
Spicer admitted he had been in an ongoing conversation with ABC to join the show ever since leaving his position in the Trump administration back in 2017. “I’ve got two business that have gotten off the ground successfully, and timing-wise, it was a great opportunity to do something completely different that I thought would be really fun,” he said.
Spicer added that he and the cast have already “hit it off,” asserting that all the criticism has come from the outside.
“From a cast standpoint, and the pros, we all seemed to hit it off. The criticism wasn’t coming from the cast or the pros — obviously Tom had his opinion — but it’s from the outside. Put it this way: Let’s talk again in November, but not only is it possible, I think it will happen,” said Spicer.
Karamo Brown, who stars on “Queer Eye,” will also be a contestant on this upcoming season and openly welcomed the inclusion of Spicer.
“I’m a big believer that if you can talk to someone and meet in the middle, you can learn about each other and help each other both grow,” Brown told Access Hollywood.