Oti Mabuse Spoke Out On The Racist & Fabphobic Abuse She Received During Strictly

“The more hate I receive the more of a reason it is to carry on doing my job.”

Oti Mabuse Spoke Out On The Racist & Fabphobic Abuse She Received During 'Strictly'
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Having recently made her debut as a judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Oti Mabuse’s television career has grown from strength to strength since she first dazzled as a professional dancer on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2015. However, the Latin ballroom talent has recently spoken out about “racially abusive” and “fat-shaming” comments she received during her time on BBC’s dancing competition, also claiming some viewers “still have a lot to learn” when it comes to racism.

It’s the first time Mabuse, who is originally from South Africa, has openly spoken about the online abuse she’s received because, as she explained to Radio Times, she believes the comments are not “representative of everyone’s views.”

“I’ve never really spoken about it because I’ve tried for so long to think about it this way: I work on a show that 10 million people love; if 10 or 100 people aren’t nice to me, that is not representative of everyone else’s views,” she said to the publication.

“To get tweeted or receive a message in my inbox being racially abusive, or fat-shaming me is horrible. But it’s written by a person who can’t even face themselves in the mirror.”

The dancer continued: “The more hate I receive the more of a reason it is to carry on doing my job. I have to show young girls that anything is possible. I have to fight, and be strong.”

In spite of some online hate, Mabuse, 31, has won the Strictly competition twice, having taken home the coveted glitter ball trophy in 2019 with actor Kelvin Fletcher and in 2020 with comedian Bill Bailey. In 2019, her sister and fellow dancer, Motsi Mabuse, joined the competition as a panel judge, replacing ballerina Darcey Bussell.

And yet, Mabuse reveals that despite her extensive dancing credentials, her TV success has at times been deemed as a “tick box.”

“When you do something good, it’s not good enough because you’re black,” the dancer explained to Radio Times, “... but I think that just shows where people who make those comments are in their own lives. Being black makes me special.”

Mabuse’s comments come ahead of her new BBC Radio 4 show Oti Mabuse’s Dancing Legends, with rumours circling that she could be leaving the Strictly dance floor ahead of its new season.

However, the dancer recently shut down Strictly exit talk, describing the show as “one of the best jobs” she’s ever had and “the most amazing experience of my life.” She also clarified that she would be taking Strictly “a season at a time.”

“You are a part of this incredible world with incredible people that always makes me feel grateful that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the show,” she said to the Metro this January. “It brings so much joy to so many fans and so many people and that’s what I love about the show.”