Strictlys Shirley Ballas fights tears as she breaks silence on sexism claims

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    Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas struggled to hold back the tears as she addressed the "sexism" backlash against her.

    Shirley appeared on Loose Women on Wednesday (October 12) to speak out about the hate she has received from trolls online and stressed her position as a judge on the hit BBC dance competition.

    Taking the opportunity to explain why it was she picked Richie Anderson and not Fleur East in the dance off on Sunday she admitted she had based her decision solely on "his footwork," adding "I love Fleur, she had this beautiful frame, and it was soft and it was elegant but in the end I went with the footwork."

    READ MORE: Gemma Atkinson in wardrobe malfunction as she spills out of towel with Strictly fiancé

    The star was left visibly emotional while discussing the impact the hurtful messages she has been bombarded with since have had on her as she admitted: "I don't have a mean bone in my body."

    She said: "It's a beautiful show, it's there to entertain, I'm there to do a job. I haven't got a mean bone in my body. I've got a son who dances. I'm just not a mean person.

    "But when it's put in front of me, 45 years of experience comes in, you don't have to agree with me. I don't have to agree with the panel, they don't have to agree with me, that's ok. But we can still talk to each other in a human like fashion."

    Shirley then welled up as she confessed that she had faced difficulties within the dance industry her whole life and that the things that have been tweeted to her are "unfathomable."

    She continued: "It's a tough industry and has been a tough industry all my life. So Saturdays, oh I'm getting emotional already, Saturdays are always a little bit like going to Disneyland it's the ultimate job, it's where you really enjoy it.

    "It's just hard, I do read everything, I know people say don't read it, but I think it's quite important. I like to feel like I've helped so many people who have mental health issues over the years you know, and different things.

    "But, it is really hurtful, some of the language is so explicit and I couldn't even retweet them, it's so explicit, they're just unfathomable."

    Shirley also expressed her regret at retweeting one vile rant that was aimed at her as she explained how being bullied throughout her career – especially in more recent years has made her tougher.

    She added: "Probably when I was in my 50's it started to escalate. There were certain people who wanted me out of the industry, they were stopping my work, you know I write about this in my book.

    "It makes you resilient. I think what happened a little bit this week is when you read it, the whole wall goes up. I don't know why it goes up, and then I retweeted one of the comments which I was sorry I did in the end. "

    Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.


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    • Loose Women
    • Strictly Come Dancing
    • Shirley Ballas

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