In a January 15, 2022, Reddit post, one fan pointed out the “Racial Problem” they believe may be present in the United States version of “Dancing With the Stars.”
The poster said that they realized the problem after watching “Strictly Come Dancing,” which is the UK version of the same type of show.
Fans Think DWTS Has a Problem
The original post specifically spoke about Britt Stewart and Keo Motsepe, who are both Black professional dancers on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I’ve noticed there is a stark difference from how their pros of color are treated,” the post reads. “OTI MABUSE, is their pro dancer from South Africa and she’s the first ever back to back winner. She’s a queen to them, she’s always the front and center of everything.”
The post goes on to mention Johaness, “who is a beloved part of their cast and made the final with the first ever male/male partnership.”
They went on to mention Stewart and Motsepe as being “discarded constantly on the American show” and wondered “if DWTS needs to do more to make them feel like more than side characters.”
People Think Stewart Gets the Short End of the Stick
In the replies to the original post, fans generally agreed and said they thought Stewart, in particular, gets the short end of the stick.
“I can’t speak to anything on Strictly because I’ve never watched it, but you’re not the only one who has noticed Keo and Britt’s treatment,” one person replied.
Another said that the show treats Stewart unfairly.
“This past season, she and Martin Cove (who was 75 years old at the time) they literally only had 4 days of rehearsals before the first live show while all the other celebrities & pros had at least a full week with some even getting almost 3 weeks of rehearsals prior to the premiere show,” they wrote. “Now I don’t know if that’s the shows fault or if they have some scheduling issues but to me I think it’s really unfair to Britt to try choreographing a good number in such a short period of time especially with someone of that age..”
Keo Motsepe did not appear on “Dancing With the Stars” season 30. He may be back in the future, but some fans think that his not appearing in 2021 was the show cutting ties with him.
“Keo and Oti were dance partners and South African Latin Champions eight years in a row,” one person replied. “Keo was the first Black dancer to join Burn the Floor and DWTS. I don’t think he deserved to be unceremoniously dumped by DWTS, the way he was.”
Another person agreed, “Keo got kicked to the curb on anniversary season at that while they gave Britt the by far the worse contestant this season with so little rehearsal time once again.”
Others said that there is colorism on the show because Brandon Armstrong, another Black dancer, was chosen for season 30 over Motsepe.
“Tehy kicked Keo to the curb but replaced him with Brandon (who they probably think is more ‘palatable’ to a white, Christian, Republican audience),” one person wrote, though a reply corrected them to say that Motsepe and Armstrong have been on seasons together, so they have not actually replaced Motsepe with Armstrong.
Some People Think the Judges are Biased
Some replies called out head judge Len Goodman, in particular, as someone who allegedly has a racial bias. Goodman has been accused of racism in the past.
“I haven’t watched long enough to weigh in about the pros situation but who I do side eye sometimes is Len.. he seems noticeably harsher toward a lot of the black celebs,” one person wrote. Another backed them up, saying that Iman Shumpert, the season 30 champion, received a lot of negativity from Goodman throughout the season.
Others said that it’s more than just racism coming from the judges on the show.
“[Carrie Ann Inaba] in notoriously overcritiquing the women’s choreography to hell, Len is very old world and I feel he may have a slight bias for pros like Pasha and Keo who put in the kitchen sink yet with Keo I rarely have heard Len praise him for his choreography when arguably Keo doesn’t do nonsense, and as for Bruno I feel like he is pretty neutral, but does tend to overscore good looking white and Latin men,” one reply reads.
The criticism comes on the heels of “Dancing With the Stars” being talked about in a negative light when compared to “Strictly Come Dancing.”
“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it does get renewed, the show will return sometime in mid-September of 2022.