Walsh's decision comes amid calls for the ABC dance competition to delay production amid the WGA and SAG strikes
Matt Walsh won’t be putting on his dancing shoes just yet.
Less than a week before the premiere of Dancing with the Stars, the Veep star, 58, announced he will no longer be taking part in the ABC dance competition amid the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
“I am taking a pause from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until an agreement is made with the WGA,” Walsh said in a statement shared with PEOPLE. “I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement. This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal.”
“I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA,” he continued. “Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at ‘DWTS’ who tolerated my dancing.”
PEOPLE has reached out to ABC for comment.
Walsh was the only star to miss the Sept. 13 cast announcement on Good Morning America. He was set to compete with Mauricio Umansky, Jason Mraz, Alyson Hannigan, Mira Sorvino, Adrian Peterson, Barry Williams, Tyson Beckford, Xochitl Gomez, Harry Jowsey, Lele Pons, Ariana Madix and Charity Lawson for the mirrorball trophy.
Walsh’s decision comes amid calls for the series to delay production amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes.
Former DWTS pro dancer Cheryl Burke shared that she believes the show should not move forward until after the strikes are finishing, telling Variety, “At the end of the day, we have to stick together because that’s the only way to ever make any significant change.”
“I don’t think it’s gonna be good for the show, to be quite honest, in the long run,” she continued. “I understand what they’re thinking and I get it. It’s a business, but there is no business without the rest of the business… I think they should hold tight. I think we need to stand as one. We need to unite for real and not just say we’re united.”
David Slack, a picketing writer, shared his thoughts on X (formerly Twitter) about the return of the show, saying, “Writers have been on strike for 139 days and counting. Most shows are shut down. By providing studios with a scab-written show, it makes the strike take longer, keeping every other crew in Hollywood out of work.”
He continued, “I know you’re all under contract & this is a tough situation. But if Drew Barrymore can step up and do the right thing alone, I hope you can do this together in solidarity.”
Writer Bill Wolkoff also said that WGA members plan to make their voices heard outside the set of the show, sharing on X, “I am glad this news is finally coming to light. The DWTS live taping is at CBS TV City. We’re going to have a BIG week on our lot picketing struck WGA shows that have decided to return. This prolongs the strike! Spread the word that #DWTSisWGA”
Dancing with the Stars — which is currently still set to premiere on Tuesday — has one WGA writer on staff who will return to work when the strike concludes, according to Variety.
The show’s contestant video packages will not mention any of their former SAG-AFTRA projects, which cannot be promoted during the strike, according to the outlet.
DWTS is the latest show to come under fire amid the Hollywood strikes. The Drew Barrymore Show, The Talk, The Jennifer Hudson Show and Real Time with Bill Maher have all announced they will be delaying their season premieres following backlash for returning amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
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Season 32 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 on ABC, and will stream on Disney+ and Hulu.
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