In recent years, we’ve stepped way back stereotypical gender roles and the arbitrary cultural markers that accompany them. Well, most of us have anyway. After a shockingly backward Good Morning America segment aired, anchor Lara Spencer apologized for mocking George’s ballet class amid backlash, which was swift and severe. Spencer took back her comments from Thursday’s show, but many enraged by the incident are not appeased by what they’re calling a “hollow” apology.
While reviewing George’s curriculum for the upcoming school year, Spencer paused on the mention of ballet class as the audience tittered behind her. As a photo of a beaming George flashed across the screen, Spencer cracked a joke: “He looks so happy about the ballet class!”
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That photo wasn’t actually George’s reaction to ballet, but Spencer revealed that the young heir does in fact have an affinity for dance. “Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet,” the host shared. “I have news for you Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts.”
The dance community and outspoken celebrities alike were outraged by Spencer’s comments, and quickly took to Twitter to share their thoughts. Star Trek‘s George Takei posted this thoughtful take: “Lara Spencer on @GMA mocked a 6-year old Prince George of the UK for taking ballet class. It shows that “toxic masculinity” can be spread viciously by insensitive women, too. As a fellow “George” and a lover of dance, I am very troubled and disappointed by her actions.”
Lara Spencer on @GMA mocked a 6-year old Prince George of the UK for taking ballet class. It shows that “toxic masculinity” can be spread viciously by insensitive women, too. As a fellow “George” and a lover of dance, I am very troubled and disappointed by her actions.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 23, 2019
Spencer has greatly offended the dance community, members of which are pointing out famous, celebrated male ballet dancers throughout history. Others are pointing out that many male athletes will take ballet to improve their performance, and critiquing the anchor for implying that ballet was somehow frivolous or not suitable for a young boy to take on. One tweet posted an alternate message for young boys pursuing ballet: “Hey boys, (including Prince George) Ballet is pretty cool. My son took it. So did all these other pretty bad ass dudes […] Keep dancing.”
@LaraSpencer Lara Spencer (Good Morning America
As a professional male dancer I find it very offensive you laugh at Prince George ballet lessons
— Malcolm Low (@hedgearoundme) August 23, 2019
— Jennifer Hoffman (@JHoffmanEriePA) August 23, 2019
@LaraSpencer how dare you….it is 2019. Some of the best MALE athletes in the world have taken ballet. How many MALE entertainers do you think there are in be world? They all probably took ballet or dance. Disgusted isn’t even a strong enough word….#boysdancetoo
— Sara Smith (@SaraB_Smitty) August 23, 2019
Yeah, let's mock a 6-year-old boy for liking ballet. That's not homophobic, hateful and shamefully, proudly ignorant at all. https://t.co/F571L1K5hM
— Stephen Whitty (@StephenWhitty) August 23, 2019
Hey boys, (including Prince George)
Ballet is pretty cool. My son took it. So did all these other pretty bad ass dudes.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Keep dancing. pic.twitter.com/4tMk5OOe84
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) August 23, 2019
I was so disappointed to see the @GMA hosts making fun of Prince George for taking and enjoying ballet classes.
— Amy Cuddy (@amyjccuddy) August 23, 2019
Following this outcry, Spencer posted an apology on Instagram. The caption reads: “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.”
However, some still feel that the anchor’s apology is not enough, and are calling for her to either apologize on air or resign entirely. We agree that this was an insensitive moment, and wholeheartedly support George’s love of dance. But hopefully, this conflict can end in Spencer sincerely and meaningfully taking stock of the assumptions that led her to respond the way she did, and working hard to do better moving forward.