Strictly Judge Shirley Ballas Reveals Why She's Staying Quiet About Giovanni Pernice Drama From Now On

The BBC is currently investigating complaints made by some of the Italian dancer's former celebrity partners.
Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas
Mike Marsland via Getty Images

Shirley Ballas has said she’ll be staying out of the ongoing controversy surrounding Strictly Come Dancing moving forward.

For the last few months, Strictly has been in the headlines while the BBC investigates complaints made by three of former professional dancer Giovanni Pernice’s celebrity dance partners (including actor Amanda Abbington) about his conduct behind the scenes of the show.

The Italian dancer – who will not be returning to Strictly in 2024 – has refuted the claims that have been made about him, and vowed to “clear his name” in the investigation.

Last month, Shirley was quoted by The Mirror as saying: “I don’t condone bullying on any path, but also I don’t believe gossip and what you read in the newspapers, because things get escalated and they are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball.

“My feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation, or whatever it is they are doing, and the truth will come out. So we don’t judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 percent. I won’t pass on the gossip unless I know 100 percent it is true.”

After insisting she’s “never ever ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness” from Giovanni, Shirley reportedly added: “I can only talk from my own perspective. He has always been to me – and I will make that clear, to me – a perfect gentleman.”

Since then, she reiterated: “I will be one person who will be by his side forever. What you see is what you get with him.”

Giovanni Pernice in 2018
Giovanni Pernice in 2018
Tim P. Whitby via Getty Images

Over the weekend, Shirley was once again asked by the matter during an interview with The Sun, to whom she said: “I’ve known Giovanni for 10 years, and he’s a good friend of mine. But I’m not involved on any side of that.

“I think before I speak, and I stay in my lane, which is ballroom dancing.”

Since the investigation began, it’s been confirmed that Giovanni will not be returning to Strictly in 2024.

Giovanni recently told his fans on Instagram: “I am co-operating fully with the ongoing BBC investigation, which will determine the truth.

“As requested, I have stayed silent, but I am looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation and ultimately clearing my name and establishing the truth.

“I am so happy to be back on tour. Thank you all for your continued support – [your] messages and love mean so very much to me. I will hopefully see many of you very soon and I look forward to clearing my name.”

A BBC spokesperson also said: “It is a longstanding position that the BBC does not comment on specific matters related to individuals. Nor ordinarily, would we comment on whether we are reviewing any individual complaints.

“Recently, we have seen a number of media reports about a high profile show. We would urge people not to indulge in speculation. Anyone involved in a complaint has a right to confidentiality and fair process.

“If a complaint is made to the BBC, we assess and take any necessary steps to establish the facts, whether there is a case to answer, and, if appropriate, what action should be taken.”

“This is all within the context of the BBC having duties of care to everyone linked to a complaint – that applies to those that have raised the complaint and to those that have been complained about,” the statement added.

“Whilst we know our shows have been positive experiences for many of those who have taken part, we will always look at any issues raised with care, fairness and sensitivity to everyone concerned.”


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