Strictly Come Dancing's Giovanni Pernice denies being abusive or threatening to contestants

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Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has denied he has been ‘abusive or threatening’ as a dance teacher

Giovanni Pernice has rejected allegations that he displayed “abusive or threatening behaviour” while working as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing.

The statement from the 33-year-old Italian comes amid reports that the BBC is looking into complaints about his conduct on the show. A legal firm acting on behalf of the complainants said the broadcaster is “evidence gathering” but the BBC has not confirmed any probe has begun.

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In last autumn’s season of Strictly, Pernice was paired with actress Amanda Abbington. She quit the show and has since said that she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after her time on it.

In his new statement shared to Instagram, Pernice wrote: “To my dear fans, 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.”

He continued: “Those who have followed my journey on Strictly Come Dancing over the last decade will know that I am passionate and competitive. No-one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me. I have always striven to help them 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.”

Pernice signed off the message by writing: “Thank you all once again for your continued love and support! Giovanni.”

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A statement from law firm Carter-Ruck to the PA news agency said: “There have been numerous serious complaints made to the BBC who are now in the process of evidence gathering. As it is still an ongoing matter no further comment can be made at this stage.”

The Sun, which was the first to report suggestions that an investigation was under way, has also claimed Pernice has quit the show. Neither the BBC nor Pernice has confirmed his departure.

Sicily-born Pernice, a previous winner of the Italian Championships dance competition, has been on the BBC One celebrity dancing show since 2015. In 2021, he lifted the Strictly glitterball trophy alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf contestant to win.

The BBC has been approached by the Press Association but declined to comment.

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