Are you ready to boycott Dancing with the Stars? The celebrity cast for season 28 was announced Wednesday and one name in particular immediately caused an emotional meltdown on social media. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is putting on his dancing shoes and the liberal outrage is coming through loud and clear, including from the show’s host. #BoycottDancingWithTheStars quickly trended on Twitter.
First, take a look at the list of ‘celebrity’ participants. The term is used loosely, as you can see for yourself. This show is a place that has-beens and almost famous people come for national exposure. If you tune in hoping to see a current star gliding around the dance floor with a professional dancing partner, you’re out of luck. It won’t happen.
Lauren Alaina, country music star
Christie Brinkley, supermodel
Ally Brooke, former member of Fifth Harmony
Hannah Brown, 15th season lead of The Bachelorette
Karamo Brown, co-host of Queer Eye
Kate Flannery, Meredith from The Office
Ray Lewis, NFL Hall of Famer
Kel Mitchell, comedian/actor from Kenan & Kel
Lamar Odom, two-time NBA champion
Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary
James Van Der Beek, Dawson’s Creek alum who costars on Pose
Mary Wilson, member of The Supremes
OK. If I was a viewer of this show (I’m not) I would be looking forward to seeing Christie Brinkley and Mary Wilson. I would cheer for the older women who are brave enough to put themselves out there. The others? Meh. Sean Spicer, though, is being told in no uncertain terms that he is not welcome.
Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well in the entertainment business. This is a popular show and its fans are vocal about the selection of participants every season. Spicer has set the haters’ hair on fire. In an unusually bold move, the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, posted on Twitter his disapproval of the decision to include Spicer. Normally, Bergeron limits his liberal-leaning opinions to appearances on late-night talk shows. I interpret the tweet as Bergeron’s way of letting the left know he’s not happy and he’s loyal to the leftist, anti-Trump crowd.
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
Here’s the thing – it’s a reality-style competition show featuring people who are willing to learn to dance with a professional partner. That’s it. For Bergeron to suddenly take a stance against any form of politics creeping into the show is absurb. Spicer isn’t the first contestant to be chosen from the world of politics. “Celebrities” from the political arena, whether former elected officials or people who make a living from a connection to politics, have been a part of the show since season 3 when Tucker Carlson joined the cast. In season 9 Tom DeLay was chosen but had to drop out because of injuries. Bristol Palin was a contestant in two seasons – season 11 and season 15 for an All-Star version of the show. Geraldo Rivera participated in season 22 and Rick Perry was in season 23. All of these, except Geraldo, are affiliated with conservative politics yet only the inclusion of Spicer and his connection to President Trump drew outrage. Apparently, other than Geraldo, liberal politicos aren’t so willing to expose themselves to public humiliation on the dance floor.
The celebrity participants are paid. It’s not big-time Hollywood money but these aren’t big-time celebrities anymore. When the cast was revealed on Good Morning America, Bergeron was able to land a zinger against Spicer so maybe he feels better now. He publicly called out Spicer for lying while in his old job without actually calling him a liar.
“The nice thing is Sean will be in charge of assessing audience size,” Bergeron joked to Spicer on Good Morning America when the cast was revealed. (Spicer famously came under fire for lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration, claiming, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.)
This is same Spicer who misled, deceived and flat-out lied to the press and American people during his brief stint as White House spokesman. No, ABC is not bringing him on to be a political commentator. “Dancing With The Stars” is just a TV show that has nothing to do with politics. But there are hard-working people at ABC in the news division whose jobs were made difficult specifically because of Spicer. So all is now just forgiven and forgotten? ABC is now going to be a part of rehabilitating Spicer’s image and pay him, too? Is there literally no one else that ABC could bring in to do the cha-cha and a waltz besides someone who perpetuated the narrative that the media is the enemy of the people, who are to be lied to?
Spicer is taking it all in stride. He is putting his experience with battling liberal criticism to use. He knows the controversy will be helpful to ratings when the season starts. The show took a full year off last year so it is looking to make a splash.
“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. And it will make this show an example of how Americans can disagree about politics and tune into good entertainment shows and keep their politics at bay,” Spicer told Fox News in a statement.
Some ABC news division staffers were happy to lash out – anonymously, of course – about the addition of Spicer to the show. News organizations no longer even fake a pretense of impartiality in Trump’s America.
The staffers expressed a range of opinions — some said there was just “eye rolling” going on. A couple said they didn’t care about the Spicer pick. One remarked, “How long do you really think he’s going to last?” But others said they were pissed.
“It’s a slap in the face to those of us who had to deal with his baloney and the consequences of the ongoing lies and disinformation campaign at the White House,” one of the staffers said.
Spicer was “horrible” to “so many of us,” another ABC source said. “It’s disgusting to think he is getting on the show and getting paid by our company.”
I agree with Bergeron that politics should stay out of television shows like this one. It is Bergeron, however, and the liberal left that is inserting politics here, not Spicer. There’s no indication that he is appearing on the show to push a political agenda. He is cashing in on his name, made during his career in politics. I’m not a big fan of the man but let’s be honest here. His inclusion is only a problem because he is associated with Trump, not because he is a longtime Republican public figure. If he was just the former RNC communications director or a former Bush staffer, there would be no story. He made lots of enemies during his time in the Trump administration, though, so this can’t be a surprise to him.
Spicer has shown an interest in show business. He was rumored to be in consideration for his own talk show. Dancing with the Stars producers asked him to be on the show in 2017 when he left the White House, he says, so this isn’t just out of the blue. In the meantime, he can dance all the way to the bank. It’s reported that he can make up to $295,000 for his time on the show. That’s more than he made at the White House.