Dancing With The Stars pro Sharna Burgess is speaking up about maintaining respect on the dance floor. The veteran ballroom star opened up this week about two partners who made her feel uncomfortable on fellow dancer Cheryl Burke’s podcast, Sex, Lies & Spray Tans.
“I have in the past had two partners that made me feel very, very uncomfortable,” Burgess shares on the podcast. “At the time I was much younger and I would laugh it up and suck it up and I would make it ok.”
Burgess goes on to explain that the partner was behaving flirtatiously around her, and in turn, growing frustrated when Burgess did not reciprocate. She notes that she did tell one person about her situation, a producer, who told her to play along, saying, “You know what men are like.”
“This is going back years and years,” Burgess continues, “this was pre-Me Too.” She says that since then, she’s learned how to “set up boundaries” that allow her to feel safe and comfortable while working with celebrity partners.
“I learned during and after Me Too, women coming forward and saying, from the big to the little things, I was like holy sh*t that happened to me, I didn’t even realize that I could speak up about it.”
After that, Burgess says, she’s learned how to defend herself. More recently, she adds “I had a situation with a partner where it got to the point where we couldn’t be alone in a room without people watching.”
“That was a difficult situation for me,” Burgess explains, but “I went through the proper channels and unfortunately I wasn’t able to record everything, but I was able to record some things and I did do the proper things and there were reports made and I was taken care of.”
Burgess notes the uncomfortable situation “was not sexual in any nature,” and Burke responds that “at the end of the day, no need to explain. You were uncomfortable, that’s a complete sentence.”
Burgess agrees with her friend, and adds, “I did the right thing and I went to the right people and I spoke up and I was able to do my job and not live in shame or fear.”
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