CJ de Mooi, who appears on the TV quiz show Eggheads, says he was rejected as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing because of his request for a male dance partner
The latest series of Strictly Come Dancing only started last night (September 5) but it’s already been hit by scandal as a quiz show champion accused the programme of homophobia.
Eggheads champion CJ de Mooi, who is gay, claims that his agent put him forward for the show, but that he was turned down when he requested a male dance partner.
‘I thought, as it’s now 2015, it’s time this format in Britain had a same-sex couple,’ he said, during an interview on Radio 1.
But Strictly producers refute his claims, saying that the only Eggheads star they ever had in mind was the host, Jeremy Vine.
‘CJ’s agent gave us the opportunity to consider him, but there was only one person we ever wanted from Eggheads and that was Jeremy Vine. We are delighted that we got our man,’ said a statement from Strictly insiders. They also described Strictly as a ‘family show’, which has angered CJ – and plenty of fans – even more.
‘Strictly Come Dancing is a family show and we’ve chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples,’ continued the statement. ‘At the moment we’ve no plans to introduce same-sex couples.’
CJ slammed the announcement as homophobic, saying: ‘I think their announcement that they’re a ‘family show’ and have no plans for same-sex couples seems that they’re being a little bit narrow-minded and defining family in some very narrow terms. I think it’s horrible to say ‘your family has to be one man, one woman and 2.4 children’, what a revolting thing to say in 2015.’
But producers hit back again, after being criticised for their use of the term ‘family show’ on social media.
‘To avoid any misinterpretation the reference to ‘family show’ – meaning all kinds of families – was only ever intended to describe the kind of show Strictly is. It was not to explain casting decision,’ said a second statement from a Strictly spokesperson.
But judge Craig Revel-Horwood seems to be in favour of same-sex dance couples – back in June he was quoted as saying it could be ‘on the cards’.