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Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli says he’s saddened by number of complaints against same-sex dance routine

Emma Powys Maurice November 22, 2019

Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe performed Strictly's first ever same-sex dance routine (Twitter/@@MOVEITSHOW)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has spoken of his disappointment at the huge number of complaints sparked by the show’s first-ever same-sex dance routine.

The BBC‘s popular ballroom dancing show made history on November 3 by when best friends Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima danced to Emeli Sande’s ‘Shine’.

The beautiful performance moved judges and fans to tears, but somehow almost 200 people found the time to complain to the BBC, deeming it “offensive to feature two men dancing as a pair.”

Judge Bruno Tonioli, who is openly gay, was devastated to hear that some people were so offended by the sight of two men dancing that they felt moved to complain about it.

“I know I shouldn’t let this upset me however it’s just really sad to read this… What’s everyones view on this? Do you care?” he tweeted to his fans.

“It’s hard to believe after such progress in society and many other topics going on that over 200 people felt so upset they complained when two men danced with each other… I just don’t know what to say… Very sad.”

Bruno’s followers urged him not to take the complaints to heart, and shared their support for the same-sex dance.

“Those 200 people must live very sad lives. Because not only did they feel so violated by two beautiful men doing a stunning dance, but so much so that they had no qualms with spewing their bigotry into the world. How pathetic,” one wrote.

“People usually complain more than they praise, the fact that there are 200 bigots means the rest of the millions of viewers either loved it or didn’t even think there was anything surprising about it,” added another. “Take comfort that most people think it is normal!”

Johannes Radebe (L) and Graziano di Prim became the first same-sex duo to dance on Strictly Come Dancing. (Screenshot via Twitter)
Johannes Radebe (L) and Graziano di Prim became the first same-sex duo to dance on Strictly Come Dancing. (Screenshot via Twitter)

The broadcaster declined to issue an apology in response to the complaints, instead sharing the following statement:

Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have been able to facilitate the dance between Johannes and Graziano during the Professionals’ dance. They are dancers first and foremost, and their sex had no bearing on their routine.”

BBC bosses recently said they would be “completely open” to changing the show’s format to allow competitive same-sex dance pairings in future.

This announcement was met with predictable condemnation from some, including the DUP’s former health minister Jim Wells who called it a “reprobate” step.

More: BBC, bruno tonioli, same-sex dance routine, Strictly Come Dancing

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