Queer Eye culture guru Karamo Brown opened up on Wednesday about the backlash he received from his “own side” following his controversial comments on fellow Dancing with the Stars contestant Sean Spicer, comparing himself to Ellen DeGeneres in reference to the criticism she received for befriending George W. Bush.
“A lot of it wasn’t coming from the other side, it was coming from my own side,” he said, referring to liberal Americans. “I just never thought in my heart that people would look at me, and think, as a black gay man living in America, that I was somehow part of the enemy.”
Brown said while he’d only briefly met Spicer before the controversy after they were cast in the 28th season of the dancing contest in August, they’ve since had “real conversations” that Brown believes helped Spicer grow.
He said they had discussions about “how [Spicer] affected the world” and “the lies he told.”
“I have the ability to reach out to those who are different and shouldn’t be ashamed of doing that,” he said.
Shortly after the cast for the season was announced, Brown expressed he was “excited” to meet Spicer in an interview with Access Hollywood. His comments faced immediate backlash from people who objected to a prominent gay man excusing someone who served as the mouthpiece for an anti-LGBTQ administration.
His Queer Eye costar Bobby Berk tweeted, but then quickly deleted, support for Brown.
In a recent Watch What Happens Live appearance, Brown said Spicer was a “bad dancer” and “there’s no friendship.”
Brown has co-authored a book with his son, Jason, titled I Am Perfectly Designed, which he hopes sends a message to young readers that they “are beautiful the way they are." He also believes that part of his “perfect design” is connecting with people who are different from him.
Brown also drew similarities between people’s criticism of him and that of Ellen DeGeneres. In October, the talk show host and former president George W. Bush were spotted sitting next to each other at a Dallas Cowboys game and sharing laughs.
DeGeneres faced considerable criticism on Twitter for her association with the conservative former leader, and she responded in an almost-four-minute-long monologue on her show.
"Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them,” DeGeneres said about the backlash.
Brown was recently eliminated on Dancing with the Stars, while Spicer is still a contestant — thanks, in part, to supportive tweets from his old boss.