Graham Norton issues grovelling apology after questioning need for same-sex couples on Strictly

Josh Milton October 1, 2020
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Graham Norton is worried about what Twitter is doing to young gay men

Graham Norton. (Steven Ferdman/Getty)

Graham Norton clarified Wednesday (30 September) that his barbed comments about Strictly Come Dancing‘s first same-sex couple were taken out of context.

Earlier this week, reports bubbled that Norton said it “is not homophobic” if BBC bosses didn’t include two men dancing on the ballroom competition show. He also debated whether two men dancing can be judged by the same criteria as a mixed-sex couple.

Amid the pushback his comment received from LGBT+ people, the 57-year-old sought to tamper criticism by saying his “throwaway” comments were the handiwork of a “journalist who wanted me to slag off Strictly“.

Graham Norton decries ‘throwaway’ Strictly comments: ‘Everyone dancing on that show brings pure joy.’ 

Sharing a report by the BBC News on his comments, Norton tweeted: “Oh God. This is entirely my own fault.

“Ages ago gave a throwaway comment to a journalist who wanted me to slag off Strictly. Clever clogs remembered and now look! So sorry.

“Big up Nicola Adams and her partner!”

“And to people messaging me to say they agree – please stop,” he added.

“Everyone dancing on that show brings pure joy. Let’s all enjoy a beautiful thing.”

His clarification came after comments he made to Best magazine fuelled alarm and confusion, with Graham saying: “As you have people who can be openly gay on that show, I don’t ­particularly need to see a man dancing with a man.”

The television personality questioned whether a same-sex couple might “muddy the waters” when it came to judging.

“If you’ve got two partners who can do lifts and men’s bodies are different shapes, how would that work?” he asked.

Nicola Adams Strictly Come Dancing
Nicola Adams. (URI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty)

“I don’t think it’s a homophobic thing. You want to be able to compare like with like.”

In response to similar complaints levelled by, well, homophobes, the BBC said that the history-making move to have the Olympic gold medal-winning boxer join the show is one that no amount of complaints will stop.

The broadcaster said in a statement: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

“We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same-sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.

“Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate.

“The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.”

More: BBC, Graham Norton, Nicola Adams, Strictly, Strictly Come Dancing

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