New Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has responded to allegations she was only hired so the show could ‘tick every box’.
The South African born Mabuse has proven a hit among viewers after replacing Darcey Bussell for the new series of the long-running dance contest.
But there was controversy following the announcement when dancer and celebrity Louie Spence called her a “nobody” who was picked as a box-ticking exercise.
But the star has now responded to these claims. She told The Sun: "It would be really sad if someone chose me for my colour only.
"I think a person of colour in any situation should be qualified to do the job. Not just because of the colour of their skin.
"You’re always going to have someone attacking you in some way. But it’s weird from someone who’s never met you, I thought it was funny. But there is already a woman of colour in this show - Oti."
Motsi replaced Darcey, who revealed she was stepping down in April after seven years as a judge.
Spence had previously said: “I don’t know her. She is a nobody. She isn’t a celebrity.
“They’ve got somebody of colour, which is being diverse. They like to tick every box. I’m not saying she’s not credible, but maybe that’s why they chose her.”
Professional dancer Anton Du Beke had been an early favourite to replace Bussell, but Mabuse was picked having already held a similar role on the German version of the show.
Asked about her relationship with Du Beke, Mabuse, 38, told ITV show Lorraine: “It’s been fine… We’ve known Anton for quite a while.
“I met him and he’s such a gentleman. I don’t think it’s anything personal at all. Everyone gets to shine in their different ways.”
The seventeenth series of Strictly started earlier this month.