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Louis van Amstel: Margaret Cho's Gay Pride Message Doomed Us

by PopEater Staff, posted Oct 14th 2010 7:50PM
Margaret Cho and Louis Van AmstelWhen Louis van Amstel and his celebrity partner Margaret Cho were eliminated from 'Dancing With the Stars,' he said he "had a breakdown the next day."

"I felt horrible," the Amsterdam-born ballroom champ and choreographer tells PopEater.

He also said he knew that when their samba was linked to gay pride, they were doomed.

Viewers will recall that judge Bruno Tonioli complimented Cho on her gay pride rainbow dress, and judge Carrie Ann Inaba chimed in that the show had gone gay, with Cho declaring it the gayest thing that's ever happened on 'Dancing.'

"That was not the story we planned to tell," van Amstel said. "That was not my message. Maybe it was Margaret's message, but not mine. The minute it was about gay pride, I knew we were gone."

"But if I would have said something then and there," he continued, "I would have looked like an a******. The damage was done."

Van Amstel said he and Cho had "a long, serious conversation about it the following day because I couldn't let it go. I was so unhappy."

According to him, their plan had been to tell the story, through their dance, of her emergence from her painful background of being bullied for being overweight, her subsequent anorexia, suicidal feelings and other difficulties, until she finally learned to accept and love herself. But once the rainbow dress was deemed a gay pride symbol, he says, "She felt, 'Yes, we've got to make a statement. We've got that one moment in time with 23 million people watching, we've got to take it.'"

"I disagreed with it. I think you change people's minds by being you -- not by provoking, being angry at the world."

He adds, "One of the people who actually changed my mind was Morgan Freeman. He said, 'If we take all the labels away, that's when we will change this world.' I live by that idea. I live by it."

Van Amstel says, "If I have to label myself, yes, I'm gay, and I'm proud of who I am and comfortable with myself and my lifestyle. But I don't want to be limited by that; I don't want to be put into a box. I don't want to be labeled in any way because labeling is the beginning of discrimination and hatred."

Both of which he has felt. Growing up, Van Amstel had his own sad times and experiences with bullies. "For being fat and then for being gay. It makes you very introverted, makes you very quiet," he believes. "I used that to be creative."

Now, van Amstel, whose last two 'DWTS' partners were Niecy Nash and Kelly Osbourne, hopes "people like me as a person, like what I do and what I do with my celebrity ... I'm working my a** off to show who I am, as someone who is passionate about what I do, who'll play devil's advocate to get the best out of you if necessary ... That's what I was known for, but with this one moment, suddenly, this is what sticks."

With this season's work complete, Van Amstel is concentrating on his dance classes, his Louis Dance Blast franchising and online pursuits, plus the 'DWTS' spin-off tour he produces, Ballroom With a Twist, which is touring Canada with several 'DWTS' personalities. He's also busy with charitable pursuits, including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), "which is working in education, in schools, to create a bully-free environment. All kids should have a great time at school. It's a human rights campaign, covering every minority, every kind of discrimination -- that's what I support," he says.

And as for that rainbow? "Yes, I know that the gay community uses the rainbow flag, but to me, it's important to also remember we all live under the rainbow."

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I don't get why he's whining about this. Uh...has he never heard of Margaret Cho before? Why would you remotely be surprised that she might want to do something like that?

Also, "wah, don't label me" kind of makes me want to roll my eyes here. It makes him sound the opposite of what he claims he is (i.e. secure).

October 15 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Um, sounds like there's a little internalized homophobia going on there. Guess what, the show is about the stars who are dancing - of that's the story Margaret Cho was brave enough to tell, so be it.

October 14 2010 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bamberluvr's comment

I don't exactly get the logic behind your statement. Just because Louis doesn't believe in the idea of a homosexual individual basing their entire self on their orientation, doesn't make him homophobic, but forward thinking and progressive. The gay community needs to stop promoting aggressive flamboyance and start promoting the idea of the majority being apathetic to their sexual preferences. That is what will create a tolerant society.

October 15 2010 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

JR ---I don't exactly get the logic behind your objection.

Louie is not doing interviews complaining about a "homosexual individual basing their entire self on their orientation." He is doing interviews complaining that he wished his dancing partner (the star in 'dancing with the stars') had not decided to take the opportunity to say something meaningful about all of the recent gay teen suicides as the result of anti-gay bullying, because HE thinks that may have been what caused them to be voted off of the reality tv show.

Shallow and internally homophobic? yes.

Unable to deal with rejection from the tv viewing audience? yes.

He is embarrassing.

October 15 2010 at 3:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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