The actor, dancer, and singer-songwriter posted an Instagram video Thursday responding to reports that he was fired from the reality competition series for sending "flirty direct messages" to a contestant, in violation of production protocols.
"It's really unfortunate that I have to sit here and defend myself and my family against blatantly untrue statements made anonymously," Morrison said in the video. "But I have nothing to hide. So, in the interest of transparency I will read to you the one message I wrote to a dancer on the show."
According to Morrison, he wrote: "Hey! It's Matthew. If you don't mind, would love to get your number and talk you through some things."
Morrison said he sent the message to the contestant because they share a "mutual respect" for a choreographer he's known for more than 20 years, and he wanted to get the choreographer a gig on the show.
He went on to lament that "we live in this world where gossip rules and people's lives are being thrown around as clickbait," adding, "I think this is much bigger than me and this story. Gossip is toxic, and it is destroying our society, and we need to do better."
Morrison concluded his video by wishing the contestants and judges — JoJo Siwa, Stephen "tWitch" Boss, and Morrison's yet-unnamed successor — the best, saying that he "in no way" wants this incident "to take away from the show, because dance has always been a unifying and healing modality."
Representatives for Morrison and Fox did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Matthew Morrison
Morrison abruptly announced that he was leaving SYTYCD last Friday, as reports surfaced that he "did not follow production protocols," which prevented him from "being able to judge the competition fairly." In a statement provided to EW, he called the judging gig an "incredible honor" and said, "I cannot apologize enough to all involved, and I will be watching alongside you all on what I know will be one of the best seasons yet."
Earlier this week, a source told PEOPLE that Morrison was relieved of his judging duties "after he had an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant."
"They didn't have sex, but he reached out to her through flirty direct messages on social media," the source said. "She felt uncomfortable with his line of comments and went to producers, who then got Fox involved. He was fired after they did their own investigation." The unnamed female contestant and Morrison reportedly "never met up off set," but the messages just "crossed the line."
EW has learned that a new judge is expected to be brought in in time for the next part of the competition, beginning June 15, and an announcement about Morrison's successor is expected shortly.