“Glee” alum Matthew Morrison is repudiating a salacious claim about his abrupt departure from the Fox dance competition “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Last week, after only a two-month stint, the married actor-singer announced his exit from his role as a judge on the series. Then he took to Instagram on Thursday to shut down a report alleging that he had an inappropriate relationship with a contestant that led to his departure.
“It’s really unfortunate that I have to sit here and defend myself and my family against blatantly untrue statements made anonymously, but I have nothing to hide,” the 43-year-old said Thursday in a video message.
“In the interest of transparency,” he also read the “one” message he sent to the dancer that he suggested was at the core of the scandal. (TMZ reported that it had verified the message.)
“ ‘Hey, it’s Matthew. If you don’t mind, would love to get your number and talk you through some things,’ ” Morrison recited, appearing to read the missive off his phone screen.
“The end. I sent this because this dancer and I both share a mutual respect for a choreographer that I’ve known for over 20 years and I was trying to help her get a job as a choreographer on the show,” he said.
When announcing his exit last Friday — less than two weeks after he debuted on the show on May 18 — Morrison said he “did not follow production protocols” and that prevented him from “being able to judge the competition fairly.” He said his judging role was an “incredible honor” and that he “cannot apologize enough to all involved, and I will be watching alongside you all on what I know will be one of the best seasons yet.”
Then, People reported Tuesday that Morrison was fired from the series “after he had an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant.” But the magazine attributed the remarks to an unnamed source.
“They didn’t have sex, but he reached out to her through flirty direct messages on social media,” the source told People. “She felt uncomfortable with his line of comments and went to producers, who then got Fox involved. He was fired after they did their own investigation.”
Representatives for Fox declined to comment Friday.
The Tony Award-nominated star’s tone in Thursday’s video was a far cry from that of his exit announcement last week.
“It’s devastating that we live in this world where gossip rules and people’s lives are being thrown around as clickbait,” Morrison said on Instagram. “I think this is much bigger than me and this story. Gossip is toxic, and it is destroying our society, and we need to do better.
“And in no way do I want this to take away from the show, because dance has always been a unifying and healing modality, and I genuinely wish all the contestants and my fellow judges all the best.”
Morrison’s wife, Renee Morrison, whom he married in 2014, also took to Instagram to share the effects the scandal had on their family.
“It’s been a wild ride… My husband has finally been given an opportunity to speak his truth. He has done so with such grace and integrity in a situation that is complex and incredibly complicated,” she wrote Thursday, reposting Morrison’s video.
“Gossip and cruelty are poison that have penetrated the depths of our society and somehow have made people forget their true nature- Love & compassion,” the actress and model added, directing readers to “stop perpetuating hate and shame. Period. NO ONE DESERVES IT.”
The Season 17 “So You Think You Can Dance” episodes including Morrison are expected to air through mid-June, Entertainment Weekly reported, and a new personality is expected to join JoJo Siwa and Stephen “tWitch” Boss on the judge’s panel in the second part of the competition’s filming.
Morrison, Siwa and tWitch replaced longtime judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy after the dance competition returned from its two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus.
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