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Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice denies claims

Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has rejected allegations that he displayed “abusive or threatening behaviour” while working as a professional dancer on the show.

The 33-year-old Italian dancer said he was “surprised” amid reports the BBC is looking into complaints about his conduct.

A legal firm acting on behalf of the complainants said the broadcaster is “evidence gathering” – but the BBC has not confirmed that any probe has been launched.

In the statement shared on Instagram, Pernice wrote: “To my dear fans, you will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week.

“Of course, I reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour, and I look forward to clearing my name.”

He added: “Those who have followed my journey on Strictly Come Dancing over the last decade will know that I am passionate and competitive.

“No one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me.

“I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be.

“This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners.”

Pernice signed off the message by writing: “Thank you all once again for your continued love and support! Giovanni.”

A statement from law firm Carter-Ruck to the PA news agency said: “There have been numerous serious complaints made to the BBC who are now in the process of evidence gathering.

“As it is still an ongoing matter no further comment can be made at this stage.”

The Sun, which first reported suggestions that an investigation was underway, also claimed Pernice had quit the show.

Neither the BBC nor Pernice has confirmed his departure.

Sicily-born Pernice has been on the BBC One celebrity dancing show since 2015.

In 2021, he lifted the Strictly glitterball trophy for the first time alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf contestant to win. He had appeared in three show finals previously.

He also holds the Guinness World Record for most jive kick and flicks in 30 seconds, which he achieved on the BBC’s Strictly It Takes Two show in 2016.

The BBC was approached by Sky News but declined to comment.

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