Abby Lee Miller’s upcoming remote talent competition series, “Abby’s Virtual Dance Off,” has been pulled at Lifetime following accusations of racism made against Miller by “Dance Moms” alum Adriana Smith.
A representative for the network told TheWrap on Friday that Lifetime has “no plans to air” the new show, which had previously been ordered and was slated to debut this summer, though no premiere date had been set.
The spokesperson also told TheWrap Season 8 of “Dance Moms,” which aired from June through September of last year, was Miller’s final contracted season with the show and she will not be returning, should the series be renewed.
A decision has not yet been made about picking up a ninth season of “Dance Moms,” a year that would not include Miller or her dance company, an individual with knowledge of the situation tells TheWrap.
On Thursday, Miller made a public apology to Adriana Smith and her daughter, Kamryn Smith, after Adriana accused Miller of exhibiting racist behavior toward them during the filming of Season 8 of the Lifetime series.
“I genuinely understand and deeply regret how my words have effected [sic] and hurt those around me in the past, particularly those in the Black community,” read a statement tweeted by Miller. “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 case, 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.”
Miller issued her apology statement two days after Smith, who appeared with her daughter, Kamryn, on Season 8 of “Dance Moms,” called out Miller for participating in #BlackOutTuesday — a social media movement created to protest racism and following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police — on Instagram.
“I couldn’t think of a more perfect day to address my experience with Abby Lee Miller,” Smith captioned an Instagram post Tuesday featuring a screenshot of the blacked out square Miller had shared on her own Instagram account, which included her “Abby Lee Dance Company” logo in the corner, over which Smith had written “NOPE” and “##DontActLikeYouCare.” (Miller’s post has since been deleted.)
“Wanna know the truth? Wanna know my TRUTH? Swipe Right to find out. I’m sure most people will say ‘why did you go on the show?’ Auditioned and booked the show why wouldn’t we go? Call me naive, I thought with cancer and jail time maybe she had changed just a little bit. Well #season8 proved that was a complete lie.”
In the Instagram post itself, Smith detailed what she says happened between her and Miller:
“I recently posted on my FB that Racism is not something we can disagree on and still be friends, which in turn is why we are not friends,” Smith’s post reads. “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.”
She continued: “This my friends is not something or a statement that can be googled. Ask yourself what does that mean? 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. Oh yeah you don’t like the F word huh? Well guess what I don’t give a F—. I didn’t then and I certainly don’t now.”
“Do you remember you told me, ‘Do you want me to tell you why you are really here? lol as if I didn’t know.. again showing your superiority. Let me remind you what you said in case you forgot! You told me to ‘LOOK in the MIRROR!’ That’s the only reason you are here!’ Kam told me she heard ‘they need a sprinkle of color!’ Poor baby!!!”
Smith wrote that in her last interview with “Dance Moms” producers she was asked how her interactions with Miller made her feel.
“As tears streamed down my face I look over at my 7 year old and back at the camera and say, this is my EVERYDAY life as a black woman. 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 daughters life as of this moment. My producer said I need you to be okay with leaving. I said absolutely Kam was so upset with me. She yelled at me and said mom now I don’t even get to hang out with Jojo on the show, and I don’t wanna leave my friends. She said mom you ruined it you ruined it for me. Of course she was mad she was 7 and I felt so bad for her.”
Smith says she “knew that it was more important for me to show my daughter that she has to stand up for what’s right and not care about anything else.”
“People need to be held accountable not just for the injustices but for also for being a closet racist. Producers only have so much control over what. a person says anything outside of that is free will. Today I am tired of being silent because of a contract. I am choosing to be the Voice of my Family and others and you can be the Voice for yours and your friends too!”
Before Miller issued her apology statement, which mentions Kamryn and Adriana by name, Camille Bridges — who appeared on Seasons 4 and 7 of “Dance Moms” — told E! News she thought Miller had also exhibited racist behavior toward her daughter, Camryn. Bridges is not named in Miller’s apology statement.
“[Miller] tried to spin Camryn as being the poor one and there on scholarship. I shut that down immediately,” Bridges told E! News on Wednesday. “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.”
Bridges also said she and the other “Dance Moms” stars were “relieved” when Miller was off the show while serving time in prison on bankruptcy fraud charges, “especially when we thought she wasn’t coming back.”
Smith posted a screenshot of Miller’s apology statement to Instagram on Thursday, captioning her post: “At this time, I do not accept Abby’s apology because her apology was not sincere. My daughter and I have yet to hear directly from Abby Lee Miller. Moreover, she didn’t even bother to tag me or Kamryn in her post. How else would we know she apologized? My friends and peers informed me of the apology. How sincere could it be?! What happened to a phone call or at least a personal direct message? Her failure to appropriately address me and my daughter personally points to the fact that she is disingenuous. My purpose with my original post was to share my story and how it negatively impacted my daughter and it resonated with many others because of the distressing times in our country. At this point, this is bigger than Kamryn and I. It’s about the potential effect that she has on the future of dance and negative, stereotypical influences on young, aspiring dancers of color.”
She added: “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. So, no, I don’t accept her apology. I also fully support and standby Nia, Camryn and Nicaya as well as any others who have been victims of racism at the hands of Abby Lee Miller or in the industry”
EW first reported the news that “Abby’s Virtual Dance Off” had been pulled by Lifetime and that Miller’s time with “Dance Moms” had come to an end.
See Miller’s apology here:
— Abby Lee Miller (@Abby_Lee_Miller) June 4, 2020
And Smith’s accusation here: