Loose Women's Sophie Morgan speaks out on Strictly rumours: I am not a chair
The 38-year-old TV presenter and disability rights campaigner complained after The Sun newspaper reported the rumours under the headline "Cha Cha Chair".
Loose Women star Sophie Morgan has spoken out on rumours she has been signed-up to take part in Strictly Come Dancing, insisting, "I am not a wheelchair".
The 38-year-old TV presenter and disability rights campaigner has publicly complained after The Sun newspaper reported the rumours under the headline "Cha Cha Chair".
Morgan tweeted: "‘CHA, CHA, CHAIR….’ is this actually for real? @TheSun we need to have a word. I am NOT a wheelchair. I am a PERSON who uses a wheelchair. WtAF."
‘CHA, CHA, CHAIR….’ is this actually for real? @TheSun we need to have a word. I am NOT a wheelchair. I am a PERSON who uses a wheelchair. WtAF. pic.twitter.com/WnWP3RUrsh
— sophie morgan (@sophmorgTV) March 4, 2023
She urged her 15.2 thousand followers to complain to IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Commission) about the "abelist" headlining, labelling her as a "wheelchair user".
Read more: Strictly Come Dancing: Disabled dancer hits back at wheelchair user contestant reports
She added: "If u want to complain about this ableist headline PLEASE do so: http://ipso.co.uk/complain/compl … PLEASE. We need to call it out & the more we complain the greater the chances are for the BRILLIANT @RachelCDailey to succeed in creating guidelines on how to report on disability CORRECTLY."
Morgan, who also presents coverage of the Paralympics on Channel 4, recently made headlines for campaigning for government legislation within the aviation industry to protect the rights of passengers using wheelchairs.
Her RightsOnFlights campaign came after her £8,000 wheelchair was broken in transit on a British Airways flight.
The Mail on Sunday reported in February that Strictly producers were in talks to feature a wheelchair-using celebrity as a contestant this year, following the success of inclusive casting in recent series of the BBC dance show.
The news sparked mixed reaction on social media and several disability rights campaigners have spoken out to highlight the shocking discriminatory comments made by some about the possibility of watching a wheelchair dancer.
Ballerina Kate Stanforth tweeted: "It’s been announced that @bbcstrictly are going to have a wheelchair user this year. I’ve just sat, honestly close to tears, as I’ve scrolled through the ableist comments about how wheelchair users are not welcome on the programme but also in general society."
And disability rights campaigner Rachel Charlton-Dailey said: "This is why I won’t believe the 'announcement' til I see it. Because the public reacts this way when it’s just mentioned that strictly are LOOKING to cast a wheelchair using celeb. Absolutely vile. Disabled people don’t need to prove our worth to you."
But other reacted positively to the news.
Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir, 43, told the Mail: "It's a great thing for inclusion and it will be nice to see someone getting a platform and profile on a massive show like Strictly. It will certainly make me watch it. Ellie Simmonds was great last year and it was so good to see her doing a show like that.
"I don't think people in wheelchairs are appreciated enough. I feel like we are a forgotten entity so hopefully this will help. It should be celebrated."
The BBC have declined to comment on the rumours.
It would not be the first time wheelchair dancing had been featured on Strictly.
In 2018, the hit series featured a routine to David Bowie's Life On Mars in which the show's professional dancers teamed up with wheelchair dancers from the inclusive Candoco Dance Company.
Former Strictly pros James and Ola Jordan, Brian Fortuna and Kristina Rihanoff all took part in a series called Dancing On Wheels on BBC Three in 2010, along with disabled presenter Ade Adepitan.
Read more: Loose Women's Sophie Morgan claims British Airways broke her £8,000 wheelchair
The show saw celebrity contestants trained by wheelchair dancers and celebrity contestants included M People singer Heather Small, Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and the late TV presenter Caroline Flack, who won the show.
Watch: Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have reportedly signed up to host Strictly for two more years