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Dancing With The Stars casting Sean Spicer is a big part of why Tom Bergeron left

Tom Bergeron is reflecting on the "betrayal" he felt from Dancing With The Stars

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Tom Bergeron with Sean Spicer and his partner Lindsay Arnold on Dancing With The Stars
Tom Bergeron with Sean Spicer and his partner Lindsay Arnold on Dancing With The Stars
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC (Getty Images)

We’ve all known the acute pain of a complete buffoon coming into our workplace and screwing everything up, but few have experienced the singular “betrayal” of that big dumb idiot being former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. You know, the guy who said Hitler never used chemical weapons? Yeah... him.

If you’ve successfully blocked this fun little era from your memory, here’s a refresher. For some reason, what ABC thought we all wanted in 2019 was to watch Donald Trump’s former lapdog learn to foxtrot. People decidedly did not want that. Chief among the detractors was Dancing With The Stars host Tom Bergeron himself, who published a vitriolic statement at the time condemning the casting for ruining what could have been “a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate.” A year later, Bergeron announced his departure from the show after 15 years.


Now, Bergeron is opening up about the cycle of “betrayal” and feeling “really pissed... off” that led to his exit. Before the casting was announced, Bergeron recalled begging producers to reconsider. “I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do. Don’t go there... Be the show that gives people a break from all this bullshit,’” he shared on a recent episode of former DWTS pro Cheryl Burke’s “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast (via Entertainment Weekly).


When execs countered that they were sticking with their (insane) decision, Bergeron apparently asked to take the season off, to which the network responded by offering to let him out of his contract altogether. “That’s how strongly they felt,” Bergeron told Burke. “[It] really pissed me off.”


Feeling “furious,” Bergeron took to social media to post his statement, with the full knowledge of his lawyers but not ABC, who he said “didn’t deserve to know.” “They had screwed me. I’m gonna screw them,” the former host continued. “I wanted the viewers to know this was a step too far to me. This was a step too far on the cusp of an election year. And again—had it been a Democrat, same statement.” (It should be noted that Spicer isn’t the first politician to compete on DWTS, or even the first Republican. But none of the others are Sean Spicer.) “At that moment, I knew this is probably my last season, because of that one betrayal,” he said. “Up until that point, there were people of character there.”

DWTS has shuffled through hosts since Bergeron’s departure in 2020. The show is currently airing its 32nd season, with Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough behind the mic.