Cheryl Burke Defends Carrie Ann Inaba After Kaitlyn Bristowe, Artem Criticism

On her side. Cheryl Burke has Carrie Ann Inaba’s back amid criticism for how she’s judged Kaitlyn Bristowe and ex Artem Chigvintsev on Dancing With the Stars this season.

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“I think that [when] you are saying ‘yes’ to being a judge, then with that comes backlash. You saying ‘yes’ to being on television — I mean, it kind of is what it is, right? Now, it’s up to you on how you want to react to all of these people, these trolls or the negativity,” the pro dancer, 36, told Us Weekly and other reporters after the Monday, November 9, episode. “It’s also how you see and perceive it. I tend to just not look at social media, period, when I’m doing a show like this. I’ve realized and I’ve experienced me being affected by that one negative comment or whatever it might be.”

Burke continued, “I think you just have to know yourself and know your job is to judge and do it with integrity and making sure that you are helping the couple and not just giving them a comment that is something that they can’t work on, or maybe it’s not detailed enough.”

The San Francisco native admitted that she does “agree” with Inaba’s criticism of the 35-year-old former Bachelorette, noting that she “absolutely” believes that Bristowe could “attack things more” during her performances with Chigvintsev. Additionally, the two-time winner argued that contestants with past dance experience like Bristowe — who previously moved to Vancouver for a dance scholarship and later became a spin instructor — are “hurt” more than “somebody with zero dance experience” coming into the competition.

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“The show is like Survivor meets Dancing With the Stars. The one who can survive [and] who is the most mentally fit I think is the one that will go out there and be resilient,” she explained. “It doesn’t matter what comments are going back and forth, it doesn’t matter about the bullying because at the end of the day, you’re here as a judge to make them improve as a dancer and hopefully also as a person. There’s a bigger picture to it all.”

Inaba, 52, spoke out amid backlash from DWTS viewers regarding the feedback she has given Bristowe and Chigvintsev, whom she previously dated from 2006 to 2009. Earlier this month, she said that she’s been getting “bullied” by fans after how she judged the pair’s jive on November 2.

“I can’t believe it still happens as adults,” she explained on the November 3 episode of The Talk. “I want to tell people who bully: It doesn’t make me change the way I judge. I’m not about to change because you try to bully me. It only makes me stand stronger in my convictions and what I believe in.”

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In response to the backlash against Inaba, Chigvintsev has said that he doesn’t believe his ex-girlfriend has a “personal agenda” when critiquing him and Bristowe. “I don’t think it has anything to do with it,” the Russia native, 38, explained to Us and other reporters on Monday. “I think she just really was harsh in the sense that she saw so much more potential than what we’ve been delivering the past two weeks, and she finally got things that she’s been wanting to see.”

Bristowe, for her part, recently explained on her “Off the Vine” podcast that Inaba is “totally allowed” to have her own opinions, adding: “I’m allowed to not agree with them or feel hurt by them, but it doesn’t mean people need to go and bully on her. I heard that she feels bullied and that makes me feel so terrible because I’ve been bullied so hard online.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Kayley Stumpe

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