Abby Lee Miller’s Lifetime Series Canceled After Racist Remarks Surface
Miller, 53, announced Abby’s Virtual Dance Off in April as a competition series that would occur amid the coronavirus pandemic’s shelter-at-home period. Dancers around the country were invited to submit videos that showed off their best moves.
Lifetime never announced a premiere date for the series, but it was expected to begin airing its 12-episode slate this summer. Entertainment Weekly, however, reported on Friday, June 5, that the series is not moving forward and Miller will not return to Dance Moms if it’s renewed for a ninth season.
A spokesperson for Lifetime confirmed the show’s episodes will not air to Us Weekly.
On Tuesday, June 2, Miller posted a black square to Instagram in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The choreographer’s gesture of solidarity was met with criticism from former Dance Moms star Adriana Smith. She accused the businesswoman of making racist remarks toward her and her daughter, Kamryn, during the show’s eighth season.
“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,” she wrote at the time. “A statement from [Miller] 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.’”
Smith said that this particular comment “shows that you think you are better than me and in higher rank and all together superior to ME.” She also claimed that this remark indicated that Miller didn’t “give a f–k about me or where I came from.”
Thereafter, Smith explained how she decided to exit Dance Moms after filming her last one-on-one interview with a producer. “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 daughter’s life as of this moment,” she explained.
Miller issued an apology to Smith and her daughter via Instagram on Thursday, June 4. “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. To Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I’ve hurt, I am truly sorry,” she wrote. “I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter what the cause, it is harmful, and it is my fault.”
The businesswoman added, “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 said she would “not accept” Miller’s apology.
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