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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Anthony France

Strictly’s Giovanni Pernice vows to clear name amid claims of ‘abusive or threatening behaviour’

Giovanni Pernice will “fully co-operate” with the BBC after the broadcaster launched an investigation into his conduct while working as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing.

The 33-year-old Italian vowed he won’t be “cancelled” and has hired London-based attack dog legal firm Schillings.

In a statement, his solicitors said: “Schillings is engaging with BBC studios to provide it with Giovanni’s evidence to strongly rebut claims being made about him and confirm that Giovanni is fully cooperating with that process.

“As with any reality TV show, when decisions are being made for entertainment reasons, the producers have a duty of care.”

“Giovanni is fully committed to clearing his name and defending his rep against accusations against him.”

A source close to Pernice added to MailOnline: “Giovanni has instructed Schillings and is clear he will not be cancelled by spurious and unfounded allegations in the press.

“He has faith in the process and is fully participating, that is the right and proper forum for the all allegations to be made and reviewed.

“He is confident he will clear his name, the only substantive allegation is that he stepped on someone else’s toes - an occupational hazard dancing professionally or at a wedding.

“Giovanni has made no secret that he is a hard taskmaster, that's what is required on Strictly.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice with the glitterball trophy during the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (Guy Levy/PA) (PA Media)

“But he has and will deny any allegations of threatening or abusive behaviour.”

The BBC is looking into complaints about his conduct on the show.

Law firm Carter-Ruck 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 was the first to report suggestions that an investigation was under way, has also claimed Pernice has quit the show.

Neither the BBC nor Pernice has confirmed his departure.

Sicily-born Pernice, a previous winner of the Italian Championships dance competition, has been on the BBC One celebrity dancing show since 2015.

In 2021, he lifted the Strictly glitterball trophy alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf contestant to win.

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