Lara Spencer apologizes for mocking Prince George's interest in ballet on 'GMA'

The comments on Thursday's show drew immediate criticism.
ABC's "Good Morning America" - 2019
George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer on "Good Morning America", on April 2, 2019.Paula Lobo / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images file

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

ABC's "Good Morning America" co-anchor Lara Spencer apologized Friday after outrage erupted on social media when she mocked and laughed at the inclusion of ballet in 6-year-old Prince George's upcoming school year curriculum.

During a Thursday "Hot News" segment on the morning show, Spencer listed off what the young British royal would be studying when he goes back to school in the fall.

"In addition to the usual first or second grade things, like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things," she said.

Her emphasis on the word "ballet" was met with raucous laughter from the studio audience.

"You couldn’t contain ... oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class,” Spencer said laughing, as a picture of Prince George smiling ear-to-ear while wearing a soccer jersey appeared on the screen.

The audience and her co-hosts responded with more laughter.

"Prince William says Prince George absolutely loves ballet," she added. "I have news for you, Prince William: We'll see how long that lasts."

The studio audience erupted in applause, and co-host George Stephanopoulos replied: "Good for him."

Spencer, 50, posted a picture of a lavender-lined mountain vista Friday on Instagram with an apology.

"My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday," she wrote. "From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and love every minute of it."

Criticism of Spencer's comments came swiftly after the segment aired and many were still expressing their disappointment in her comments Friday afternoon.

Actress and comedian Rosie O'Donnell posted a video to Twitter asking Spencer: "Seriously, laughing at boys who take ballet on channel 7 ABC — what’s up with that?"

"It’s ridiculous, it's like bullying on national TV," O'Donnell said.

"Boys who take ballet are cool ... come on!" said O'Donnell, who founded Rosie's Theater Kids, which supports dance, theater and drama training in New York City public schools.

"Ew, @LaraSpencer. That was disgusting," Josh Lamon, who stars in the Tony-nominated musical "The Prom," wrote on Twitter. "Dancing is an art and a sport. How dare you. You are officially cancelled."

Choreographer Brian Friedman, who has worked with Cher and Beyoncé, took to Instagram to share his thoughts on Spencer's comments.

"Growing up as a dancer I was bullied horribly which is exactly what this is. She is teaching the world that it is ok to laugh at boys for dancing and that is so sad. Just think about the young boys who may have seen this and could quit their passion at her expense," he wrote.

"I could extoll the numerous benefits that dance training has for any human being, not to mention one who is going to grow up to be a head of state," Courtney Escoyne wrote in Dance Magazine. "But the thing is, I doubt that Spencer cares. What this is really about is bullying. Because that's what we just watched: A grown woman bullying a 6-year-old child. On national television. To laughter and applause."

Prince George, who is third in line to the British throne, is the oldest child of Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

A spokesperson for "Good Morning America" did not immediately respond to a request for comment.