'Dancing With the Stars': Sean Spicer responds to casting backlash, hopes for 'politics-free zone' in season 28

Despite significant criticism of his casting on Dancing With the Stars, Sean Spicer wants his time in the ballroom to spark “civil and respectful” discourse.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the former White House press secretary — whose presence on Season 28 prompted swift backlash on social media Wednesday — said that he hopes the ABC series will be a “politics-free zone,” regardless of his ties to the Trump administration.

“My hope is that at the end of the season, [DWTS host] Tom [Bergeron] looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together to have fun with each other, engage in a real civil and respectful way, and maybe show millions of Americans how we can get back to that kind of interaction,” Spicer said.

36 PHOTOS
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
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Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Outgoing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer waves as he walks into the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price (L-R), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speak to reporters after the Congressional Budget Office released its score on proposed Republican health care legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

White House Communications Director Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 2, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) takes questions during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House spokesman Sean Spicer takes questions during his press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Trump aide Omarosa Manigault (C) watches as White House spokesman Sean Spicer (R) arrives for a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Rivals Brad Woodhouse (left) and Sean Spicer pose for a photograph outside Bullfeathers in Washington, D.C. on November 08, 2011. Sean Spicer and Brad Woodhouse (spokesmen for the RNC and DNC) hosts Congressional and other flacks to the 1st Annual 'Flacks for Flacks Who Wear Flak Jackets' Benefiting Military Public Affairs Officers serving in Afghanistan.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds up paperwork highlighting and comparing language about the National Security Council from the Trump administration and previous administrations during the daily press briefing at the White House, January 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that he will reveal his 'unbelievably highly respected' pick to replace the late Supreme Court Antonin Scalia on Tuesday evening. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer leaves after a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room February 14, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Spicer discussed on various topics including the resignation of Michael Flynn from his position as National Security Adviser. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump advisor Steve Bannon (2L), White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), and White House spokesman Sean Spicer look on before the announcement of the Supreme Court nominee at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer removes lint from Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller's jacket as he waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, center, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White House Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller (L) carries a red USA hat and a copy of Fortune magazine with U.S. President Donald Trump on the cover as he and Communications Director Sean Spicer (R) deplane from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Sean Spicer, left, is the new communications director for the Republican National Committee, and Rick Wiley, is the RNC� new political director.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a 'hallmark of our democracy.'

(Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands alongside his wife, Mary Pat, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L), as US President Donald Trump signs House Joint Resolution 41, which removes some Dodd-Frank regulations on oil and gas companies, during a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stephen Miller(L) and Sean Spicer, arrive to meet with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on January 10, 2017.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer's first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media's reporting on the inauguration's crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer takes a photo with his cell phone on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, updates waiting media on progress of the meeting as House Republicans, eager to put a fresh face on their leadership team as they head into difficult November elections, chose John A. Boehner of Ohio as their new majority leader. Boehner beat out interim Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri on the second ballot, 122-109. John Shadegg of Arizona, a late entrant into the race, was knocked out on the first ballot, when he drew 40 votes to 79 for Boehner and 110 for Blunt. Jim Ryun of Kansas drew two votes.

(Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, incoming press secretary for President-elect Donald Trump leaves from Trump Tower after meetings on January 5, 2017, in New York.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief Strategist and Communications Director at the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer is interviewed in his office at the committee's headquarters on Monday August 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

National security adviser General Michael Flynn (L) arrives to deliver a statement next to Press Secretary Sean Spicer during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks as television screen displays journalists who participate in the daily briefing via Skype at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Donald Trump gestures to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) as he makes remarks to the press as he sits down for a working lunch with members of his cabinet and their spouses, including Veteran's Administration Secretary David Shulkin (2nd R) at Trump National Golf Club, Potomac Falls,Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., March 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
POTOMAC FALLS, VA - MARCH 11: White House Pres Secretary Sean Spicer briefs the press pool as President Donald Trump has a working lunch with staff and cabinet members and significant others at his golf course, Trump National on March 11, 2017 in Potomac Falls, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: White House Press secretary Sean Spicer points as he answers questions from members of the media and reporters, seen reflected in an exit sign, during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
(COMBO)(FILES) This combination of file pictures created on July 21, 2017 shows former assistant to US President Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci attending a meeting on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on January 17, 2017 in Davos, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer during a press briefing on June 20, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary Friday in protest at a major shakeup of Donald Trump's embattled administration, an official told AFP. Spicer -- the administrations most recognizable face after the president -- resigned after just six months in office, having been increasingly sidelined in recent weeks. Spicer reached breaking point on Friday, the White House official said, when Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be the new communications director, a bid to reset the scandal-wracked administration. / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI AND NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI,NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer briefs members of the media during a daily briefing at the White House July 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Shortly after Spicer’s casting was announced, Bergeron was among those who expressed concern with his presence on the show, revealing in a lengthy Twitter post that he had hoped Season 28 “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliation.” Though Bergeron had made that suggestion to a DWTS executive producer, “a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.'”

Bergeron continued, “It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long term interests of the franchise. We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll [leave] it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions.”

In response to the backlash, DWTS EP Andrew Llinares told TVLine, “We’ve got a great and diverse cast. We are excited about the season.”

The Season 28 cast also includes James Van Der Beek, The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown and Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, who tweeted on Wednesday that he is “excited to sit down w/ [Spicer] and engage in a respectful conversation. Only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us.”

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'Dancing With the Star's season 28 cast
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'Dancing With the Star's season 28 cast
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Christie Brinkley arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Lamar Odom arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Hannah Brown arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Singer Ally Brooke arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Actress Kate Flannery arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Lauren Alaina arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Actor James Van Der Beek arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Actor Kel Mitchell arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Karamo Brown arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Ray Lewis arrives at the 2019 "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Reveal at Planet Hollywood Times Square on August 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood International)
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