In response to a New York Times opinion piece criticizing Dancing With the Stars for allowing Sean Spicer to participate, the former White House press secretary fired back. The embattled political figure has been shunned with every television appearance he's made since stepping away from the podium, and his latest venture is no different.
Spicer, who served the first six months under the current White House administration, was announced as one of the cast members on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. Although there were plenty of other recognizable television personalities - like reigning Bachelorette Hannah Brown and Queer Eye's Karamo Brown - Spicer's inclusion made the most headlines. Some, such as New York Times' James Poniewozik, condemned the decision to give a platform to a man infamous for standing behind a podium. Others, like Karamo, took to Spicer's defense on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, writing, "Only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us." Host of Dancing with the Stars Tom Bergeron has expressed on Twitter that he was against Spicer being a part of the show for the divisiveness it was likely to cause.
In an interview with Mediaite, Spicer sounded unfazed by the wave of criticism that had been shoved his way in the past 24 hours. He said, "This is an opportunity to have some fun." However, some may not agree with that sentiment. Spicer responded to the New York Times story, saying, "I’ve never really cared what they think. I’m not going to care now.”
Poniewozik's piece, titled "Don't Let Sean Spicer Tap-Dance Out of Infamy on 'Dancing With the Stars," unsurprisingly didn't sit well with Spicer. The 47-year-old said of the Times author, “He presupposes that’s what I want. First of all I don’t really care what he wants or what the New York Times wants." Finally, Spicer added, "I’m in this because I enjoy it. I’m very comfortable with who I am, what I believe and who I support, and that’s it.”
Spicer is no longer in the White House, but his presence on the season has already cast a dark cloud before the premiere. Though he no doubt has both supporters and detractors, the mere announcement that he was going to be on the show has taken attention away from the other interesting competitors. The one thing working in Spicer's favor, however, is that given the current political landscape, there is no shortage of national stories more newsworthy than breaking down how well Spicer danced the cha-cha.
Dancing with the Stars premieres September 16 on ABC.