Lifetime cancels plans to air Abby Lee Miller reality show after racism accusations
Abby Lee Miller's reality show on Lifetime isn't moving forward.
The cable network has canceled its plans to air Abby’s Virtual Dance Off in wake of the reality TV star being accused of racism by a former Dance Moms contestant Adriana Smith, EW has confirmed.
Billed as a 12-episode pandemic-friendly Dance Moms spin-off where the professional choreographer would feature dancers from around the country who submitted videos of their best moves, Abby’s Virtual Dance Off was previously expected to air this summer. In addition, Miller won't be returning to Dance Moms if the show is renewed for a ninth season.
Miller posted a Blackout Tuesday square on Instagram to show solidarity with protesters of racism and police brutality. Then Smith — whose daughter Kamryn had competed on Dance Moms season 8 last year — responded with her own post. "Don't Act Like You Care," she wrote, adding, "I couldn’t think of a more perfect day to address my experience with Abby Lee Miller. Wanna know the truth? Wanna know my TRUTH? ... 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 to me shows that you think you are better than me and in higher rank and all together superior to ME! This to me shows that you don't give a f--- about me or where I came from."
Smith also noted her daughter overheard Miller saying, "The only reason [Kamryn was] here" was for "a sprinkle of color."
As a result, Smith said she pulled her daughter out of the show due to Miller's behavior. "People need to be held accountable not just for the injustices [but also] for being a closet racist," 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."
On Thursday, Miller apologized to Smith and her daughter. "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," she 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. 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."
Smith then replied in a statement to EW that she did "not accept Abby’s apology because her apology was not sincere. At this point, this is bigger than me and Kamryn. It’s about the potential effect that she has on the future of dance and negative, stereotypical influences on young, aspiring dancers of color. I firmly believe that if Abby was truly sorry, she would have apologized a year ago when she exposed my then 7-year-old daughter to her first account of racism."
Another Dance Moms parent, Camille Bridges, has also called out Miller, telling E! News that she felt her daughter Camryn was likewise mistreated due to her race. "[Abby] tried to spin Camryn as being the poor one and there on scholarship. I shut that down immediately," Bridges claimed. "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... It was a traumatic experience that I wish on no one."
Read many more details about the claims by Smith and Bridges, along with Miller's full response.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.