Since this story's original publication, Karamo Brown has again defended Sean Spicer's casting on the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars.
In a Wednesday interview with Access Hollywood, the Queer Eye star told the entertainment news show that Donald Trump's former press secretary is a “good guy, really sweet guy.”
“Sean Spicer and I have been talking,” the reality show's culture specialist claimed. “I was most excited to meet him because, the thing is, is that people would look at us and think that we're polar opposites, 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 added that the two had been “chatting all day.”
The comments were met with severe backlash on Twitter when writer Evan Ross Katz tweeted a video of the interview and remarked, “[C]ause what’s morality, really?”
Brown replied to Ross' tweet, claiming that he and his castmates “fight harder than your ass ever has for people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community,” before deleting it. In a lengthy response to his defense of Spicer on Instagram, Ross quoted writer Naomi Shulman: “Nice people made the best Nazis.”
Brown was previously criticized for meeting with Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, in April 2018.
Complicity, thy name is ABC.
The big four network announced this morning that former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer will join Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown on the next season of its longrunning reality show, Dancing With the Stars. The two will compete against former supermodel Christie Brinkley, one-time Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell, and 90s heartthrob James Van Der Beek.
Having Spicer compete on the show at all immediately drew ire, with critics accusing ABC of normalizing “lying to the press to cover for a white supremacist administration.” Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition, referred to the decision as “#DancingtoFascism.”
Now Variety has learned how much ABC will shell out for the pleasure of Spicer’s company: at least $125,000, at the very minimum.
According to the respected entertainment magazine, Dancing With the Stars contestants earn that salary as base pay for “the show’s rehearsal period and their first two weeks on the air.” If they outlast the first two weeks, cast members receive incremental pay raises based on their progression in the competition. The eventual winner makes $295,000, unnamed sources tell Variety.
While the money awarded to the grand champ is significantly lower today than it was when Dancing With the Stars was a cultural phenomenon, many former contestants have used the spotlight to pivot into second careers. Variety notes that Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Alfonso Riberia landed a gig hosting the reboot of America’s Funniest Home Videos in 2015 after winning the show’s 19th season. Even if Spicer falls short of the jackpot, it could be an extremely well-paying audition for his next job.
The gig is also a significant raise from his previous occupation. While Spicer earned $180,000 a year in the White House, Dancing With the Stars airs over just 11 weeks. Assuming there are a month of rehearsals, the pay rate would come out to over $400,000 for the entire year (and again, that’s if he doesn’t win).
It’s a significant sum to hand over to someone who continually stood by President Donald Trump as his administration worked to rollback LGBTQ+ rights. Within just weeks of taking office, the White House repealed protections for trans students in public schools, rolled back LGBTQ+ data collection, proposed slashing HIV/AIDS funding, and erased any mention of the LGBTQ+ community from its website.
Although Spicer resigned after just six months in the White House, he has never spoken out against the 123 attacks on the LGBTQ+ community made by his now-former employer since 2017, per numbers from the watchdog group GLAAD.
At least one LGBTQ+ person is looking forward to the opportunity to engage with Spicer, though: Karamo himself. After a Queer Eye fan tweeted her disappointment that the reality show’s culture guru would “[lend] his celebrity to this,” Brown responded he was “excited to sit down w/ him and engage in a respectful conversations [sic].”
“Only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us,” he said.
Education is important, but we also don't have to give everyone we ideologically disagree with $125,000 for the trouble.