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Judge Shirley’s threat to name ‘misogynistic bullies’ who conspired to destroy her career

By Chris Hastings ARTS CORRESPONDENT Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds at 11.15am today.

STRICTLY judge Shirley Ballas has hit out a powerful cabal of ‘misogynistic bullies’ who she says conspired to wreck her career as a professional dance teacher.

Mrs Ballas, left, said the men might have succeeded in driving her out of the industry had she not landed the job on Strictly in 2017.

The star, 63, who launches her broadside in today’s Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, stops short of identifying any of the men, although she does threaten to name and shame them at a future date.

She said: ‘I think at the time [when I got the Strictly job] I was going through immense bullying in the industry from men at the top.’ She added: ‘I was teaching the top couples in the world and then there were threats going to certain couples... “If you train with her were going to make sure you don’t make it in the industry”.’

Asked by host Lauren Laverne if the men were misogynistic, Mrs Ballas replied: ‘Yes, 100 per cent for sure and I don’t think it’s much better today. I still think that bullying goes on. There is a lot of great people in my industry… [but] I think we have this handful of, like you say, misogynistic people with egos that just will not deflate… I don’t know how people get away with it until it becomes name and shame, and I’m pretty much close to doing that.’

She added: ‘Fortunately something aligned and I got the job on Strictly. So thank you very much to all the bullies in my industry and you know who you are and everybody in my industry knows who they are.’

Mrs Ballas herself has been accused of sexism in the past.

Following a Strictly episode this year, she was criticised by some viewers for giving the lowest scores to contestants Zara McDermott, Ellie Leach and Angela Rippon.

Mrs Ballas also recalled the body shaming she experienced after she and her then-husband Corky returned to professional dancing just six weeks after giving birth to her son Mark.

She said: ‘My dance teacher] said to me, “We don’t want to see your stretch marks. I hate it that your skin is wobbling and you actually make people feel physically sick”.’

Mrs Ballas is more forgiving of her ex-husband, who she reveals put a dead cockroach in a donut to stop her binge eating while she was pregnant – and the tactic worked.





dmg media (UK)