"I screwed up. I did. The comment I made about dance was insensitive. It was stupid and I am deeply sorry," Spencer said on Monday.
"I have spoken with several members of the dance community over the past few days. I have listened. I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance," she added, before introducing a taped segment with renowned male dancers Travis Wall, Fabrice Calmels and Robbie Fairchild reflecting on boys getting involved in dance.
"I'll never forget being in middle school and some of the guys found out that the dance studio was pretty close to school and they were like, 'Oh, I want to see this cute girl I have a crush and dancing,'" Fairchild, who's set to star in Cats, recalled. "So they come to the studio one day after school and they see me in a ballet class with them and it wasn’t about the girls, it was them pointing and laughing through the window. I can’t tell you how much that hurts."
Despite the teasing, Fairchild pursued a dance career, something he credits to have a "male role model" to look up to.
"Mine was Gene Kelly and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without Singing in the Rain and the VHS, watching it on TV. That was a pivotal moment where I was like, 'He's doing what I want to do and he's making it so cool,'" Fairchild explained, before opening up about how he hopes his role in Cats will have a similar impact.
"Dance has the ability to tell amazing stories. And there's nothing more feline than ballet," he said. "And so getting to be on set with the people that were were on set with -- I was right next to Dame Judi Dench, holding her hand, crawling like a cat with her -- it was just the most crazy experience and I here I am, thinking, 'Who's going to see this and have that moment?'"
"You can be the next Gene Kelly. Some little boy is going to watch Cats and hopefully have that moment and say, 'I'm doing this because I watched Robbie Fairchild,'" Spencer chimed in.
"That would be the dream," Fairchild responded. "I think it's really important for us to take this as a lesson to learn that there are things that I don’t understand that maybe I should in order to appreciate it more for what it is."
Meanwhile, Wall, a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance?, reflected on the impact that show has likely had on young boys who are interested in dancing.
"How many boys have started to dance because of that show makes me so proud to represent that show," Wall, who shared on his Instagram Story that Spencer called him personally to apologize for her comments, said. "And I think that the message that I was trying to get across was that I want more boys to dance. We make such beautiful art and we create such beautiful moments in this world and I wish the world would dance more."
For Calmels of the Joffrey Ballet, he said he hoped that this experience led people to be more empathetic and understanding.
"I just wish people would be open minded and understand what others are doing. More empathy would be lovely," he said. "I teach young kids and boys, they just drop [out], you know, because of the stigma, the social stigma around performing. Children should be entitled to experience things without being bullied."
"I think you have to avoid the noise. Use that as inspiration," Wall added of his advice to kids. "Look at us. Like, look at anybody who's been through all of it, and it's, like, it always gets better. And boys dancing, I mean, we're the coolest, right? We're awesome."
Spencer said that the whole experience had become "a true education," before offering a final personal apology to the three men, as well as others she may have hurt.
"For me, the lesson is that words hurt. And it was not my intention, but it was insensitive and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to apologize personally to you and for you guys coming in here to sit and talk to me and educate me. And again, I'm really sorry," she said to unanimous acceptance from the group.