Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer provoked something of a media storm last Thursday, after making an ill-advised joke about Prince George taking ballet classes. Her comments were condemned by actor, producer, director and certified dance icon Debbie Allen, So You Think You Can Dance's Travis Wall, and Gene Kelly's widow Patricia Ward Kelly amongst others—and now, according to E! News, she's reaching out to make amends.
As Deadline reports, the mockery came during a segment on Prince George's curriculum at his private London school, Thomas's Battersea, where the little royal will be studying ballet alongside math, history, science, computer programming, religious studies, and poetry. "Oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class," Lara said, before referring to Prince William's previous comments about how much George is, in fact, very happy to be taking dance classes. "I have news for you, Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts," she said.
Unsurprisingly, viewers from the dance world and beyond weren't thrilled at the suggestion that a boy couldn't possibly enjoy ballet—or that there's something funny about a boy who loves to dance (haven't you seen Billy Elliot, Lara?!) "Poking fun at the dance world, at ballet and young boys, this is just not cool." Debbie Allen said in an Instagram video. "We’d get more Steve Jobs [Jobs took dance classes in college, Allen pointed out] if we had more ballet, less bullying."
"As a dancer myself I was bullied all the time growing up," Travis Wall said on Instagram. "The next time you want to laugh at a child for taking a dance class, or laugh at them at all, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be a bully today." Patricia Ward Kelly, meanwhile, wrote in an open letter, "Gene would be devastated to know that 61 years after his ground-breaking work, the issue of boys and men dancing is still the subject of ridicule—and on a national network."
Lara apologized on Instagram, writing, "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. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain—and love every minute of it."
She's now taken her apologies a step further by reaching out to both Debbie Allen and Travis Wall, according to E! News. "So Lara Spencer just called me on my cell phone, she got my number from Debbie Allen, and she is completely horrified and just truly just issued this massive apology," Travis said on his Instagram story. "I could just hear the horror in her voice."
"She knows that there's a bunch of us, Broadway and a lot of the ballet community here in New York City, we're going down to Good Morning America on Monday morning and taking ballet class outside," he added. "She's aware of it and she wants to talk to all of us and she wants to set this thing straight and right. The dance community is incredible and yeah, our voices were heard, which is fantastic, so hooray!" Let's hope this serves as a lesson to anyone who still, inexplicably, thinks boys doing ballet is funny.
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