More than 300 male ballet dancers performed in front of the Good Morning America studio as a response to co-host Lara Spencer’s remarks about 6-year-old Prince George’s ballet lessons.
Spencer said in her segment last week: “In addition to the usual first or second-grade things, like math, science, and history, 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,” laughing as she went to ‘ballet.’
As audience members and fellow co-hosts laughed, Spencer added: “Prince William said Prince George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William – we’ll see how long that lasts…”
The episode circulated online and was slammed on social media, with many professional dancers accusing the host of promoting toxic masculinity.
Spencer wrote on Instagram to apologize for her comments and also made an on-air apology where she sat down with dancers Robbie Fairchild and Travis Wall.
She called her remarks ‘insensitive and stupid,’ adding, “I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young man to pursue a career in dance.”
Calmels also said on the segment: “More empathy would be lovely.” He said that as a teacher, he sees many young boys getting out of ballet classes “because of the social stigma around the form. Children should be entitled to experience things without being bullied.”
“The lesson is that words hurt,” Spencer added, “and it was not my intention but it was insensitive.”
Peter Stark, a former NYC Ballet dancer and associate director of the Boston Ballet II, said to The Washington Post: “I would like to believe that Lara Spencer didn’t mean to do harm, but she did great harm.
“She gave permission for individuals to laugh at boys doing ballet.”
Douglas Risner, a dance professor, said that the host “underscored harmful stereotypes and signaled that harassment and bullying of boys who dance is acceptable. And she projected all of that on a defenseless child,” adding, “She implicated the father, too, implying that he’ll change his mind about this once harassment starts.”
A group of male dancers assembled in front of GMA studio hoping to turn Spencer’s remarks into something positive.
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