The Good Morning America anchor, 50, came under fire last Thursday after teasing the young royal about his love for ballet on the ABC morning show, laughing at the inclusion of the classical dance classes in his hectic school curriculum.
Backlash quickly spread among prominent members of the arts community, leading Spencer to issue an apology on Instagram Friday. And on Monday, she said she was sorry again, this time in an extensive GMA segment.
“I screwed up. I did,” Spencer confessed to viewers. “The comment I made about dance was insensitive, it was stupid, and I am deeply sorry.”
Spencer went on to explain that she used her blunder as a teachable moment. “I’ve spoken with several members of the dance community over the past few days,” she said. “I have listened. I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance.”
“For me, the lesson is that words hurt. It was not my intention but it was insensitive. … Just let people follow their dream, whether it’s dance, whatever it is.”
To help explain more, GMA aired Spencer’s conversation with three influential dancers who have fought against the stigma firsthand.
“I can’t tell you how much that hurts,” said Cats star and Tony-nominee Robbie Fairchild, recalling the childhood teasing he experienced when taking ballet classes in middle school.
“I want more boys to dance,” said So You Think You Can Dance‘s two-time Emmy-winning choreographer Travis Wall. “We make such beautiful art and we create such beautiful moments in this world. And I wish the world would dance more.”
Fabrice Calmels, principal dancer at the Joffrey Ballet, agreed.
“I just wish people would be more open-minded and understand what others are doing,” he said. “More empathy would be lovely. I teach young kids, and boys — they just drop, because of the social stigma around the form. Children should be entitled to experience things without the bullying.”