In her new memoir, U.S. Olympic goalkeeper and one-time Dancing With the Stars contestant Hope Solo accuses her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy of slapping her “across the face. Hard.” In the “Dancing” chapter of Solo: A Memoir of Hope, which went on sale Aug. 14, the author said Chmerkovskiy “was extremely apologetic,” but that the blow was powerful enough that her ears rang afterwards.
According to Solo, ABC’s cameras filmed the episode in question, footage that later disappeared, and the network offered to remove Chmerkovskiy from the show and pair her with another dance. She declined.
The incident may have been documented at the time: a rehearsal clip aired last October that captured Chmerkovskiy seemingly slapping Solo on the shoulders and being otherwise impatient with her. His decision to get physical didn’t sit well with at least one other pro. “That’s stuff you shouldn’t be doing,” said Nancy Grace’s partner Tristan McManus. “No matter whether you’ve been dancing for however long or just new to dancing, that shouldn’t be happening.”
Solo also cast doubt on the dance show’s credibility, claiming that Maks had confided to her that there was “some secret memo” circulating behind the scenes coordinating their elimination — hence his blow-up was an attempt to create drama and convince producers to keep them in the competition. ABC has not officially responded to the accusations.
This morning on Fox’s Good Day New York, Chmerkovskiy appeared but didn’t comment on the matter — nor was he asked about it. But on Twitter on Thursday, Chmerkovskiy wrote: “Always hated hypocrites and liars…but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can’t win at someone’s expense.”