BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing has kicked off for 2015, and audiences everywhere tuned in to see this year’s famous faces get ready to take on the dance floor.
But today reports are flying around that the show is under fire for refusing same-sex dance partners.
Eggheads’ champion CJ de Mooi has come forward to claim that he was not taken on for the show because he had requested a male dance partner.
Speaking with Radio 1 Newsbeat he explained that his manager was in talks with the Strictly team and he claimed he had been told he was being considered, but instead they opted for the host of Eggheads, Jeremy Vine. He believes this is down to his request for a male dance partner, although a BBC source claims that they were only ever interested in casting Jeremy.
CJ de Mooi explained: “I thought, as it’s now 2015, it’s time this format in Britain had a same-sex couple.”
According to BBC News, Strictly Come Dancing released a statement in response to the claims, which read: “Strictly is a family show and we have chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples.”
CJ de Mooi has hit back at this, stating: “I don’t want to say that Strictly are conservative, but I think their announcement that they’re a ‘family show’ and have no plans for same-sex couples seems that they’re being a little bit narrow-minded and defining family in some very narrow terms.”
The Strictly spokesperson clarified: “To avoid any misinterpretation the reference to ‘family show’ – meaning all kinds of families – was only ever intended to describe the kind of show Strictly is. It was not to explain casting decisions.”
He added: “At the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”
SCD’s statement has sparked a lot of criticism on Twitter, with one user saying “You being a “family show” should not be a factor that dictates whether you have same-sex partners. LGBT+ have families too. @bbcstrictly.”
CJ also took to Twitter to simply say: “I never campaign for rights for anyone. I campaign for equality for everyone. Surely the only right is the same love and respect for all?”
We want to know what you think…
By Laura Jane Turner