Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer may have been the objects of heated body talk this fall, but Maksim Chmerkovskiy, their fellow Dancing with the Stars pro, denies that he helped fan the flames.
Chmerkovskiy spoke recently about dancers' weight on the reality series, but claims his comments were not directed at Schwimmer or Burke, and were "taken completely out of context."
"I am outspoken but I do not discriminate how people look," he said, according to People. "That's the great thing about ballroom — unlike jazz and ballet — it doesn't discriminate. People of all shapes and sizes and levels of ability can take part in ballroom dancing."
Further clarifying his position, he explained that he has been publicly discussing "how excess weight on the body takes its toll on the joints [and] the lower back."
While Chmerkovskiy insists that he "never criticized Cheryl or Lacey," that isn't stopping fans from blasting him in email messages over the perceived antagonism. Even more upsetting, he said, is how he believes the buzz is affecting people's view of dancing.
"I am a big promoter of being healthy and physical activity, but in my business, I do not condemn how people look. It's sad how all of this got spun," he lamented.
On a happier note, the public buzz, he said, isn't impacting his private relationships with either Schwimmer or Burke, off — or on — the dance floor. "We're fine," he said. "I'm dancing with Cheryl next week."
What's your take on this latest shot in the public body battle?