Strictly bosses ‘struggling to sign up women’ for next season after Giovanni Pernice allegations

Strictly Come Dancing bosses are reportedly finding it hard to convince female celebrities to sign up for the upcoming season, after the BBC launched an investigation into professional dancer Giovanni Pernice.

The investigation follows allegations made about Pernice’s behaviour by several of his former partners on the show, believed to be Amanda Abbington, Laura Whitmore, and Ranvir Singh, who reportedly met up to “compare notes” about Pernice and their experiences with him.

A source told The MirrorStrictly bosses have been left reeling by the backlash against Giovanni”.

“One problem it has caused is that the booking team are struggling to recruit female celebrities for 2024. In the past, some women have been reluctant to sign up due to the Strictly curse and others have struggled to commit to the full-on schedule. But this has made booking harder than ever,” they said.

The Strictly curse refers to the idea that celebs taking part in Strictly are likely to fall for their dance partner.

“There is a concern amongst some about their treatment, while others are reluctant to be involved with the show while it’s under a shadow,” the source reportedly continued.

Pernice was accused of “abusive” and “threatening” behaviour on set towards his partners, with rumours circulating that he will be leaving the show.

Earlier this month, Pernice defended himself against the allegations on Instagram, posting an image with a message that read: “You will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week.

“Of course, I reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour, and I look forward to clearing my name. I have always striven to help [my partners] be the very best dancers they can be. This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners,” he said.

Pernice was partnered with Abbington in the last season, but the Sherlock actress quit a few weeks into the competition for personal reasons.

Abbington says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her stint on Strictly and previously asked to see behind-the-scenes footage of her rehearsals with Pernice.

Whitmore, who formerly hosted Love Island, danced with Pernice in 2016.

Two years later, she wrote about her experience on the dancing show in the Huffington Post: “I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with, and in the end I felt broken. I cried every day. I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.”

Recently, BBC Breakfast presenter Jon Kay asked former Strictly competitor Stacey Dooley about the allegations, although she wasn’t paired with Pernice during her time on the show.

Dooley replied: “Yeah, what I would say is I don’t have a friendship with Giovanni. I didn’t even have a working relationship with Giovanni… what I would say, more broadly, is I hope all of the women involved are ok. And I think, actually, it’s separate from this but in my personal experience, I think it’s a slippery slope not to believe women when they come forward and say certain things. But I just hope they’re ok.”

Pernice has been a professional dancer with Strictly Come Dancing since 2015 and has since been paired up with multiple partners, including Drag Race star Michelle Visage and Rose Ayling-Ellis in 2021.

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