Hey Dancing with the Stars, You Fucked Up

As Maksim Chmerkovskiy teaches and trains …

he hits. That’s what he does.

"Dancing with the Stars" has cloaked his hitting as a teaching method or a joke. They’ve tried to paint it as a difficult but valid process where women who refuse to submit to this mistreatment are weak, lazy or too arrogant to comply. They pretend that Maks is doing it for his students’ own good. It’s a lie.

"Dancing with the Stars" is a huge show with broad cultural influence. It has the cachet of BBC Worldwide and The Walt Disney Company which produces and airs the show. That’s why the show’s continuing employment of Maks, under these circumstances, has so much weight and consequence.

Because DWTS continues to employ Maks, large parts of the viewing public, the press, and even the show itself have become normalized to his acts of violence. And what should be unacceptable in any workplace somehow becomes tolerable and, perversely, celebrated.

"Dancing with the Stars," this is wrong. You did Hope Solo - who, at minimum, deserved your full support and protection from physical violence - wrong. Remove this toxin from your show.

Listing Maks’ “good” qualities is a FAIL defense for his violent acts. Citing Maks’ so-called charm and likability is not some magical absolution for his hitting.

Dancing with the Stars, you are dysfunctional when it comes to Maks. He has hit his students in your studio. You should have zero tolerance for that. No ifs, ands, buts, extenuating circumstances, false contexts. Sever ties with him. It’s the right thing to do.


“I could see the shocked looks on the faces of the other dancers.”

“So maybe this isn’t normal behavior.”

- Hope Solo, realizing Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s behavior was not a normal part of learning dance. From “Solo: A Memoir of Hope”

This is just the footage that made it to air. It isn’t even the worst of what Hope describes Maks did to her. This “flinging and pushing” was a routine part of the “manhandling” that Maks inflicted on her “from the start.”

It is surreal to go on “Dancing with the Stars” and be disrespected and mistreated like this. The mind reels, and you can’t believe that a professional dance instructor would have the gall to act this way. On camera and on one of the most popular TV shows in the world. That’s why a lot of us don’t even know how to react to it. It’s uncomfortable to see this ugliness and have your happy, glittery vision of the show disturbed. And it’s painful to realize that people in power will fail to protect those that are hurt and, instead, tolerate and enable an offender like Maks.

What Maks did is not “normal.” It is violent. “Dancing with the Stars” needs to own this and cut this disease from the show. By keeping Maks Chmerkovskiy in the cast, DWTS is giving harbor to the misconception that what he did is anywhere near the realm of okay.

Reblogging myself to pin on first page.

(via maks-slapped-hope-reblog)

This is Conrad Green.

Conrad Green is the executive producer of “Dancing with the Stars.” When Hope Solo talks about meeting with the executive producer of the show, this is who she’s talking about.

Before Hope’s book was published, Conrad talked to Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming All-Star season of Dancing with the Stars.

About Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley, he said this:

”An iconic couple on the show. I think we saw the best side of Maks when he was with Kirstie. He’s a lovely guy, he’s a passionate guy. Although he’s had some tricky times on the show, I would much rather see a popular Maks and a happy Maks. Their chemistry was amazing. I can’t wait to see them again.”

Conrad Green likes Maksim Chmerkovskiy. He seems genuinely fond of the guy.

And that could be the problem.

Sometimes, within institutions, employees commit outrageously inappropriate, offensive, even criminal behavior.

Some of these institutions — educational, religious, large for-profit corporations — learn of the wrongdoing and then, incredibly, abdicate responsibility for those they are duty-bound to protect. Instead, they focus their efforts on reinforcing the wrongdoer’s place within the institution. They protect the wrongdoer; they shield him from liability and enable the wrongdoing to continue.

Why? Again and again, it comes out that the authorities within these institutions get lost in an ethical cloud of “compassion” for the wrongdoer. Not the victim. The wrongdoer.

They have a personal relationship with the wrongdoer or a shared sense of institutional loyalty. And, somehow, they let their empathy for the wrongdoer — rather than the victim — overrule good judgment.  They cling to the “good” attributes of the wrongdoer and rationalize away their bad decision to protect the wrongdoer.

A few years ago, Maksim Chmerkovskiy voluntarily took a season-long break from DWTS. The show still thrived. So, Maks staying on the show might not be based solely on a ratings/profit calculus. Something irrational, emotional is likely also in play.

It’s interesting how Conrad Green couches Maks’ problems on the show as “tricky times.” Also interesting how he characterizes Maks’ behavior as a product of whom he’s partnered with. It implicitly points to the argument made by others that because Maks didn’t hit all of his partners, it’s acceptable that he stay on the show as he only hit some of his partners. That line of thinking is misguided.

Below is another photo of Conrad Green. He is not wearing sunglasses indoors, unlike his peer Mike Fleiss (left in the pic) executive producer of ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”

Conrad Green made the ethical mistake of continuing to employ Maksim Chmerkovksiy. This mistake protects and enables Maks, and it does worse by feeding the perception that his violent behavior is acceptable. It’s a mistake that Conrad can reverse. And it takes a true visionary to look with clear eyes at past mistakes and work to correct them. I hope Conrad comes to that place and fixes this.

It is possible to accept the humanity and good qualities of Maksim Chmerkovskiy while rebuking the violence he does on this show. If DWTS truly has no tolerance for violence in its workplace, then removing Maks from the show is the only acceptable decision.

Anonymous said: I dont care for either hope or maks and dont take a side, but how sure are you that maks slapped hope?

  • Some people discount Hope’s account because they mistakenly believe she didn’t speak up to producers at the time of the slap. She did. They question why she waited to publish her book after the Olympics - closer to the DWTS premiere date. That was not Hope’s call. The publish date was pushed back as required by Pia Sundhage, coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
  • In the past, Maks has shown himself capable of being deep in denial about his hitting. There is no reason to think he isn’t operating now from that same blind spot.

Anonymous said: Amen. They should have got rid of him themselves and agreed to tell the truth. None of this "Hope was a diva so she got rid of Maks" shit. In the very least arrange an accident to force him out if they wanted to save face. Bottom line him gone and her safe from him as well as their editing room. Of course at that point Hope knew they would screw her over instead of tell the truth. She was given a choice of freezing to death or burning to death. Not much of a choice.

"I was being asked to make a decision that would affect someone else’s livelihood. I didn’t want to end Maks’ career. And I knew that if I asked for a change, it would be spun in the tabloids and on the show that I was a prima donna. It was another lose-lose situation."

                                                                       - Hope Solo

Maks slapped Hope, and “Dancing with the Stars” fucked up. The show gave lip service to not tolerating violence, but they shrugged off responsibility for removing the violent offender from their midst. And instead, they stacked that burden on Hope. That never should have been her call.

At a time when Hope should have been focused solely on herself and her own needs and interests, the show forced her into the insane and unjust position of having to consider the needs and interests of the man who hit her. What Maks did was foul, and the show took the situation to another level of repugnance with this cowardly and passive-aggressive bullshit.

After Maks slapped Hope, the only appropriate response from the show would have been to do everything possible to protect her, including firing the slapper their own damn selves. When powerful institutions protect and enable the violent among them, the least the rest of us can do is say: we see what you did there, and it’s gross.

Anonymous said: Not sure about this. She told someone on twitter she had been sarcastic, especially about the "got some seats waiting for you" for the Olympics because she knew his support was "all talk". Earlier she referenced Maks' latest attempt at getting attention with the fake oxygen thing on DWTS. She knew it to be another one of his lame stunts just like he did with her. She was sitting in the hospital with her stepdad who really needed oxygen and was upset they were making a farce of it all.

Thanks for the look, anon.

Clarifying the “friendly” tweets I mention here.

Blog Note

So, this blog maks-slapped-hope is coming close to saying all it has to say and will likely wind down soon. I’ll probably post the last entry some time this weekend. This tumblr and all its posts will remain up for perpetuity. It just won’t be updated unless something significant happens.

The ask and submit box will stay open only until Friday, September 7, noon Pacific Standard Time. But there’s a comment system installed on the blog; feel free to vent any opinion you have there if you land here down the road.

I appreciate the follows and asks and comments and reblogs and feedback - both positive and negative. Thank you.

Still a couple of more posts to go, stay tuned …

Hope Solo speaks - with boundless love and compassion - about her late dad Jeffrey who struggled with the law and with homelessness. [x]

In her book “Solo: A Memoir of Hope,” Hope is even more painfully open about her family’s and her own flaws and wrongdoing. Here is an excerpt from the book about the time Hope’s father kidnapped her and her brother Marcus when they were children.

That’s one of many passages that felt like a punch in the gut. It was so brutally raw, and I guess I wasn’t expecting it.

In comparison, Hope’s book lets Maksim Chmerkovskiy and “Dancing with the Stars” off relatively easy. Maks is spared really harsh scrutiny, and Hope is almost matter-of-fact in describing what happened. She does her fair share of crediting Maks for his good qualities. For instance, calling him “personable.” This anon put it well:

"[Hope] maintains the attitude she has had all along by blaming the show for misrepresenting them while at the same time calling foul on [Maks’] behavior. Which feels more like her type of acceptance (i.e. her father) not necessarily trying to ruin someone’s reputation.

After Hope’s book came out, some protested that Hope had continued to send friendly tweets to Maks post-DWTS, and therefore her account of Maks in her book was obviously all lies.

You know how people (way wiser than me) say forgiveness is not the same thing as accountability?

Personally forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you can’t hold that wrongdoer to account by speaking openly and honestly about the harm. Nor does it mean that society or whatever power is in authority cannot or should not sanction a wrongdoer for that misdeed. People face consequences for their actions — not for who they are.

Well, if forgiveness ≠ accountability, and forgiveness doesn’t dissolve the necessity/justice of holding wrongdoers accountable, then tweets on twitter sure as hell don’t either. 

Yes, [Hope] is unapologetic. Yes, she is abrasive. Yes, she is — as ESPN described her — “fiercely individualistic and aggressively outspoken.” Yet she is not afraid to speak her mind, she is not afraid to stand up for herself, she is not afraid to strive to be the best.

Is that not what we want in a role model for our children?

— (via filante-star)

(Source: blog.seattlepi.com, via filantestar)