UPDATE! On Friday, TheWrap confirmed that Lifetime has pulled Abby Lee’s new show, Abby’s Virtual Dance Off, from its summer premiere schedule, due to the statements made by the former ‘Dance Moms’ stars.
“A representative for the network told TheWrap on Friday that Lifetime has ‘no plans to air’ the new show, which had previously been ordered and was slated to debut this summer, though no premiere date had been set.”
Abby Lee Miller is apologizing and promising to “educate, learn and grow,” after being accused this week of making racially offensive remarks to former students and their mothers during her time on Dance Moms.
E! News reports that the first complaint this week regarding Abby’s behavior came from Season 8 mom Adriana Smith, who cited specific things said by Abby to her and other African-American cast members. The cast members spoke out after Abby participated in the “Blackout Tuesday” social media movement.
“I recently posted on my FB that racism is not something we can disagree on and still be friends, which is why we are not friends,” Adriana wrote. “A statement from her that sticks in my mind to this day during my time on DMS8 is ‘I know you grew up in the HOOD with only a box of 8 crayons, but I grew up in the country club with a box of 64–don’t be stupid.’
“This, my friends, is not something or a statement that can be Googled,” she continued. “Ask yourself what does that mean? This to me shows that you think you are better than me and in higher rank and all together superior to ME!”
Adriana went on to mention other times in which Abby spoke offensively, revealing that one of the comments was overheard by her daughter Kamryn Smith.
“Do you remember you told me, ‘Do you want me to tell you why you are really here?’ LOL as if I didn’t know… again, showing your superiority,” Adriana wrote, speaking to Abby directly. “Let me remind you what you said in case you forgot. You told me to ‘LOOK in the MIRROR!’ That’s the only reason you are here!’ Kam told me she heard ‘they need a sprinkle of color!'”
After that incident, Adriana said she knew it was time to leave the show.
“As tears streamed down my face, I look over at my seven-year-old and back at the camera and say, ‘This is my EVERYDAY life as a black woman,'” she wrote. “This is nothing new to me. But what I’m not going to have happen is have this racist person have any part of my daughter’s life as of this moment. At that moment, I knew that it was more important for me to show my daughter that she had to stand up for what’s right and not care about anything else.
“But in that interview, my little seven-year-old cried like a GROWN black woman and stood up and said, ‘Mom I understand it’s not right here and I want to go home too….'”
In response to Adriana’s claims, ‘Dance Moms’ producer Kori Kingg wrote on Facebook that the allegations “broke” her, as she was working on the show and pregnant with her own black daughter at the time. In hindsight, she said she should’ve left the show with them.
” … I should have stood with my sister, Adriana Janae Smith and supported gorgeous baby Kam and left too,” she wrote. “Seeing a seven-year-old little black girl be put in a box in a corner and treated so violently because of the color of her skin was heartbreaking. It reminds me of when I ‘found out I was black’ at an age not much older than her.”
Following the allegations made by Adriana, another ‘Dance Mom’ star— Camile Bridges, mom of Camryn Bridges— reached out to E! News in an email sharing her own experiences with Abby.
“[Abby] tried to spin Camryn as being the poor one and there on scholarships,” she wrote. “I shut that down immediately. She loves appropriating our culture and never appreciating it. She did not give black choreographers on the show acknowledgment of their work. She continuously put Camryn in afros.”
Camile recalled feeling “relieved” when Abby left to serve time in prison. However, once Abby returned, she told her daughter they were leaving.
“I was done,” she said. “That woman is a mess. She is incredibly two-faced. She would say the most terrible things on camera, then tell Camryn how she was better than the girls on the team, mainly the ones she trained. It was a traumatic experience that I wish on no one.”
In response to the allegations being made against her, Abby took to Instagram to issue an apology to Adriana, Kamryn and anyone else she’s hurt. She did not deny that she said the things the ‘Dance Moms’ stars are claiming.
“I genuinely understand and deeply regret how my words have effected and hurt those around me in the past, particularly those in the Black community,” Abby wrote. “To Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I’ve hurt, I am truly sorry. I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful, and it is my fault.
“While I cannot change the past or remove the harm I have done, I promise to educate myself, learn, grow, and do better,” she continued. “While I hope to one day earn your forgiveness, I recognize that words alone are not enough. I understand it takes time and genuine change.”
(Photos: Lifetime; Instagram)