Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas backs Giovanni Pernice as BBC probes allegations

Strictly's Shirley Ballas backs Giovanni Pernice as she says 'truth will come out'
-Credit: (Image: PA/Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas has thrown her support behind Giovanni Pernice amidst the BBC's probe into allegations of his misconduct on the popular dance programme.

Giovanni, a well-known dancer on the show, is at the centre of a BBC internal review following claims of bullying and ill-treatment from past dance partners - a charge he strongly refutes.

Celebrities such as Amanda Abbington and Laura Whitmore have made accusations against him, and Ranvir Singh has also spoken regarding the dancer's conduct.

It comes as it was recently announced Giovanni would not return to the forthcoming series of Strictly. Other professionals set to appear include Neil Jones, Amy Dowden, and last year's winner, Vito Coppola.

Now, Shirley, one of the judges of Strictly, has expressed her thoughts on the surprise departure and the cloud of allegations over Giovanni. In an interview with the Mirror, she stated Giovanni would be a notable absence from the show, reports the Daily Star.

"I know he is a hard worker. He wants the people to do the very best that they can do," said Shirley.

She further commented, "Obviously in my life I was bullied a lot. 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.

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"So my feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation or whatever it is they are doing and the truth will come out. We don't judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 per cent. I won't pass on the gossip unless I know 100 per cent it is true."

The show judge continued: "I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him. He will be missed."

Following claims of improper conduct in the workplace involving the Sicilian star during the previous series of the show, the BBC has initiated an inquiry into the matter. Amanda Abbington, who was paired with Pernice, left the competition after five weeks, amidst speculation of disagreements with her dance partner.

Post-show, Abbington reported the experience had led to her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The actress's legal team has requested footage of the duo's rehearsal and training sessions to aid their lawsuit, while other celebrities including Laura Whitmore and Ranvir Singh who partnered with Giovanni in past seasons have also come forward.

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