Lara Spencer apologizes for ridiculing Prince George and ballet, but damage is done
“I screwed up,” said ABC’s “Good Morning America” host Lara Spencer, speaking about mocking statements she made last week about Britain’s 6-year-old Prince George — eldest son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — and his plans to take ballet at school. That segment was slammed on social media and quickly went viral. Last Friday, Spencer posted an apology on Instagram. In her on-air apology on Monday, Spencer went further, saying her comments were “insensitive and stupid, and I am deeply sorry.” Douglas Risner, a dance professor at Wayne State University who studies the stigmatizing of adolescent boys who dance, said in an interview Sunday that his inbox flooded with emails after Spencer’s report, and like those writers, he also found her segment appalling. She “underscored harmful stereotypes and signaled that harassment and bullying of boys who dance is acceptable. And she projected all of that on a defenseless child,” he said. “She implicated the father, too, implying that he’ll change his mind about this once harassment starts.” In a 2014 study of adolescent boys who dance in the United States, Risner found that 93 percent of his respondents experienced teasing and name-calling, and nearly 70 percent suffered verbal or physical abuse. Teen boys who dance “are at least seven times more likely than the general adolescent population to be bullied,” Risner said. “If this behavior concerned any other activity than dance,” he said, “it would be considered a public health crisis by the Centers for Disease Control.” Risner said bullying and the kind of belittling that Spencer expressed last week ends up excluding men from the field. He estimates that 75 percent of male dance students will quit before their 16th birthday.
August 27, 2019