After DWTS’s casting was announced in August, Brown, the culture guru on Netflix’s Queer Eye, said he was “most excited to meet” Spicer.
He also shared that he and Spicer had been in conversation “all day” on the day of the casting announcement and referred to him as a “good guy, really sweet guy.”
“People would look at us and think that we’re polar opposites,” Brown said at the time. “But I’m a big believer that if you can talk to someone and meet in the middle, you can learn about each other and help each other both grow.”
Brown received major backlash from people online, including prominent LGBTQ2 activists, and temporarily deactivated his Twitter account.
During an interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Brown, who was eliminated from DWTS on Oct. 28, clarified that he had “no friendship” with Spicer.
“I was nice to Sean Spicer. But there was no friendship,” Brown said. “I was just saying that if we’re going to be on the same show, I’m going to have a respectful conversation with someone who’s different from me.”
Brown went on to address the fact that U.S. President Donald Trump has urged his Twitter followers to vote for Spicer to remain on DWTS.
“He can’t dance, that’s literally what it is,” Brown told host Cohen. “But it’s also fan vote. And Middle America watches the show, and they vote for him. And also our president, who should be doing other stuff, has been tweeting ‘vote for the man.’”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
Brown recently revealed that his children received “death threats” over his Spicer comments from August.
“He was running home because somebody was in a car chasing after him in the car screaming at him: ‘F you and your dad! You’re going to die!’” he said. “That’s what I don’t like. That’s the part that really makes me emotional and gets me upset. When I have to squeeze my hands — the daddy protective in me is just like, don’t do that.
“The hate started coming at me. And normally, I can handle the hate because I’m OK with having constructive conversations, but what I realized is that places like Twitter, you can’t have constructive conversations,” he continued. “It’s the mob mentality. And so once the mob feels like they have their target, they’re going to get you. … And then it was really the first tweet I saw where they at my child as well — I was like, done! And I got off of it.”
Brown said he understood why people got so upset with his comments regarding Spicer.
“To be honest with you, I understood why people got upset,” he said. “I am not delusional. I’m with them. You know seeing someone lie to the American public and be a part of an administration that is hurting us, it was bad.”
Spicer quit as press secretary just six months into Trump’s presidency. He had a contentious relationship with the press and is remembered for his claim that the president’s inauguration was the most widely seen in history.
The U.S. National Park Service released photographs of Trump’s 2017 inauguration that appeared to counter Spicer’s claim. In the U.S., Nielsen estimated 31 million viewers watched TV coverage of the event, less than the first inaugurations of former presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan.
Spicer’s addition to DWTS didn’t go down well with co-host Tom Bergeron, who tweeted that he had earlier told producers he hoped the new season would be a “joyful respite from our exhausting political climate.”
He tweeted that during a lunch with the new DWTS executive producer that everyone was in agreement after he urged them not to have any “divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations.”
“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction,’” Bergeron wrote.
“It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long-term interests of the franchise.
“We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call.
“I’ll leave it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions. For me, as host, I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two-hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with,” the DWTS co-host wrote.
“That’s a responsibility, which I take very seriously, even if I occasionally season it with dad jokes. Hopefully, when Erin Andrews and I look into those lenses again on Sept. 16, you’ll be on the other side looking back, able to enjoy the charismatic pro dancers, the unpredictable judges and the kitschy charm that has defined DWTS since 2005.”
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
Many people on Twitter were not happy about Spicer’s casting on the dancing competition show, and #BoycottDWTS began to trend after the announcement in August.
Spicer responded to the backlash in August while speaking to CNN.
“I think this is an entertainment show. I look forward to having some fun. And if people are looking for news, I suggest they tune into a news program,” Spicer told CNN. “I am very happy with who I am and who I support. I’m not changing. I am giving people another opportunity to see a side of me that is different.”
In response to Bergeron’s statement, Spicer said: “I think Tom has been a great host. And I firmly believe when the season is over, he’s probably going to realize bringing a diverse group of people together who can interact in a fun, civil and respectful way is actually a way we can move the country forward in a positive way.
“And it will make this show an example of how Americans can disagree about politics and tune into good entertainment shows and keep their politics at bay.”
— With a file from the Associated Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.