The Queer Eye star caught flak for supporting Donald Trump's former press secretary after his DWTS casting was announced

By Tomás Mier and Aurelie Corinthios
October 29, 2019 11:40 AM
Advertisement

Karamo Brown faced some serious backlash for his initial response to Sean Spicer‘s casting on Dancing with the Starsbut he has no regrets about the way he handled the situation.

Speaking to reporters after his elimination from the ABC dance competition on Monday night, the Queer Eye star opened up about how he forged a friendship with President Donald Trump‘s former press secretary despite their political differences.

“My goal coming into this was to introduce myself to people who have never seen Queer Eye, to let them know who I am,” he said. “And also, my goal has always been to show how if you can show kindness and lead with love, things can change.”

“Day one I got backlash [for supporting Spicer],” he continued. “I started this show with people telling me, ‘You’re horrible, you’re crazy, you’re stupid.’ Because I showed someone who has a different political view than mine kindness.”

Indeed, Brown, 38, caught heat on social media for his decision to not outwardly disapprove of Spicer’s casting when it was announced in August. Instead, Brown noted at the time that he looked forward to having “respectful conversations” with Spicer, which sparked outrage online. (The political aide was widely disparaged after he used the White House press podium to lie to and attack journalists during his tenure; he resigned in 2017.)

Karamo Brown (left) and Sean Spicer
| Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images; Shannon Finney/Getty Images

“Through this process, Sean’s trailer has been next to mine and I have literally every day been planting seeds in his heart,” Brown said on Monday. “‘When you made this comment, it hurt me as a man. When you made this comment, it hurt me as a person of color. When you made this comment, it hurt me as a gay man.’ And literally, I could see each week those seeds … blossoming and that’s why he got emotional [when I was sent home].”

“He got emotional because he’s realizing that I’m not someone you should be attacking in the media,” Brown continued. “I’m a human being. And if I can touch his heart, I’m about to go through and make a tour of Washington! I still want Trump out of office, but you know. That was the goal [with Spicer]. That was the goal.”

Brown — who first gained fame on The Real World: Philadelphia and became a political activist, working with the Obama administration on after-school programs for LGBTQ youth — also said he’s “proud” of Spicer.

“Sean is literally someone who I would’ve never thought I could be friends with, and I’m going to walk away from here calling him a friend,” he said. “I’m going to continue the conversation that we’ve had outside of this. And I don’t think Sean’s going to make it to the end [of the competition], but I’m proud of him. I really am proud of him, because he’s had fun every week and I think he’s exceptional.”

Sean Spicer on DWTS
| Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

Spicer, 48, echoed Brown’s sentiments during his own interview with reporters after Monday’s show.

“It just speaks to what a great person he is, that he’s trying to bridge divides,” Spicer said of his “friend” Brown supporting him from the get-go. “I think that it’s been great getting to know him, getting to discuss things with him. And so it’s tough to watch somebody that you’ve really got close to go home when you know how hard they’ve worked and how much progress they’ve made.”

Following the backlash this summer, Brown temporarily deactivated his Twitter account and turned off the comments feature on his Instagram. During an interview on Catt Sadler‘s Naked podcast last month, he said his break from social media came after his kids began receiving “death threats” over the controversy, recalling a particularly scary instance where his son was chased down the street in Philadelphia while people yelled profanity at him.

“He was running home because somebody was in a car chasing after him in the car screaming at him! ‘F you and your dad! You’re going to die!'” he said. “That’s what I don’t like. That’s the part that really makes me emotional and gets me upset. When I have to squeeze my hands — the Daddy protective in me is just like, don’t do that.”

“The hate started coming at me. And normally I can handle the hate, because I’m okay with having constructive conversations, but what I realized is that places like Twitter, you can’t have constructive conversations,” he continued. “It’s the mob mentality. And so once the mob feels like they have their target, they’re going to get you. … And then it was really the first tweet I saw where they @ my child as well — I was like, done! And I got off of it.”

Still, Brown said while his “natural instinct is to be kind to every human being,” he understood why some people were upset with him.

“I am not delusional. I’m with them,” he said. “You know, seeing someone lie to the American public and be a part of an administration that is hurting us, it was bad.”

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.