“I always love somebody who doesn’t give up, okay. I think that that’s a wonderful spirit to have. You should never give up. However our rules say that she has to be out,” Inaba, 47, told PEOPLE at PETA’s 35th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “I think that it would be unfair to the other competitors if she came back because she did not compete.”
Zolciak-Biermann, 37, was hospitalized for a mini stroke last week. She was unable to make it from her home in Atlanta to Monday’s broadcast of the dance competition series, which films in Los Angeles.
Per the rules of the show, a contestant must withdraw in the instance of a health issue or illness preventing them from dancing.
Inaba, however, thinks Zolciak-Biermann’s time off from the competition may have given her an unfair advantage.
“She got a week to rest and our show is tough,” Inaba said. “Having a week to rest could make a huge difference in the future of her competition, so I kind of think that it’s okay the way it is. I wish her well, though. I’m very glad to hear that she’s doing well health-wise.”
Johnson, who co-hosted DWTS All Access last week, agreed.
“The rules are the rules and it was really unfortunate what happened,” Johnson, 39, told PEOPLE at the PETA Gala on Wednesday. “I think her health has to take priority and you know that’s the rules. I feel bad for Tony, poor thing. But I think it wouldn’t be fair to the other couples then as well that were there and could actually dance.”
On Tuesday, Zolciak-Biermann launched an online petition to be allowed back on the competition with a goal of 10,000 signatures.
By Thursday morning, more than 22,000 people had signed the petition.