Abby Lee Miller, the woman who helmed the Lifetime reality TV hit “Dance Moms,” is no stranger to controversy.
Over the years, she’s repeatedly made headlines for screaming at the young students in her studio, been called out for styling kids in barely-there costumes and was once sued by a 13-year-old dancer over allegations of emotional abuse.
And now, a full year after her show’s eighth season kicked off, a new controversy has ignited after Adriana Smith, mother of season 8 star Kamryn Smith, alleged Miller made racist remarks that prompted her to pull her daughter off the series — a claim Miller didn’t deny in her response to it.
It all started earlier this week when Miller, like many others on Instagram, shared a black square in honor of Blackout Tuesday, a day to stop and reflect in the midst of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. That now-deleted post inspired Smith to share a lengthy reply along with the hashtag “#DontActLikeYouCare.”
“I recently posted on my FB that Racism is not something we can disagree on and still be friends, which in turn is why we are not friends,” she said of Miller before sharing a shocking anecdote about the dance instructor. “A statement from her that sticks in my mind to this day during my time on DMS8 is ‘I know you grew up in the HOOD with only a box of 8 crayons, but I grew up in the Country Club with a box of 64 — don’t be stupid.’
Smith called it a clear example of the 53-year-old trying to claim superiority and a “higher rank” over her. And it wasn’t the only example of what she considered to be racially motivated remarks.
“Do you remember you told me ‘Do you want me to tell you why you are really here?’ lol as if I didn’t know.. again showing your superiority,” the mother continued. “Let me remind you what you said in case you forgot! You told me to ‘LOOK in the MIRROR! That’s the only reason you are here!’ Kam told me she heard ‘they need a sprinkle of color!’”
She went on to say she pulled Kamryn off the show because she couldn’t let “this racist person have any part of my daughter’s life,” adding, “People need to be held accountable not just for the injustices but for also for being a closet racist.”
A point Miller didn’t argue in her response to Smith.
“I genuinely understand and deeply regret how my words have effected and hurt those around me in the past, particularly those in the Black community,” Miller wrote. “To Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I’ve hurt, I am truly sorry.”
And beyond that apology, Miller promised to “do better” going forward.
“I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful and it is my fault,” she stated. “While I cannot change the past or remove the harm I have done, I promise to educate myself, learn, grow, and do better.”
The dance veteran then closed by recognizing her apology won’t wipe the slate clean of her past behavior, noting, “While I hope to one day earn your forgiveness, I recognize that words alone are not enough. I understand it takes time and genuine change.”