Layton Williams has brushed off the naysayers after receiving online hate from conservative Strictly Come Dancing viewers.
Since the premiere of the show’s 21st season, the Bad Education star and his partner, Nikita Kuzmin, have won the hearts of viewers with their incredible performances.
From their Grease-inspired Viennese waltz – which featured Williams in drag – to their stunning Cha Cha Cha that earned them the highest score of the series, the pair’s run has been nothing short of iconic.
But despite the heaps of praise he’s received from fans and the show’s judges, the beloved talent has also been subjected to online hate – with some bigoted viewers slamming his costumes, his partnership with Kuzmin and his West End experience.
Fortunately, Williams isn’t letting the hateful rhetoric get him down. Instead, he’s focusing on the positive impact his appearance has had on LGBTQIA+ viewers.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the beloved talent revealed: “I’ve been trying to protect myself and not read as much, and truly think about the bigger picture.”
While he has found it difficult at times to navigate the hate, Williams said that heartwarming messages from parents have helped him push through the negativity.
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“I saw this message from this young boy’s mum who said, ‘He’s been wearing his fairy wings; he’s been loving the performances.’ It warms my heart that we’re on mainstream TV to 8 million people a week, just us being happy,” he explained.
Williams also reiterated that despite his background in musical theatre, learning the intricate routines choreographed by Kuzmin is still a challenge.
“I’ve taken it on the chin; I get what everyone’s saying. But if you could be a fly on the wall in this rehearsal room, it’s not easy for me,” he said.
The Billy Elliot star’s recent interview comes a few weeks after he told GAY TIMES that he wouldn’t dim his light or “butch it up” for homophobic viewers.
“I am an actor, so I could give you different vibes! There are many sides to Layton,” he explained ahead of the season’s premiere.
“Sometimes I’m a butch queen, sometimes I’m a femme queen, sometimes I’m whatever I want to be. So, you will be getting that on Strictly because that’s what I’m like in real life. But, I won’t be butching it up for anybody but me.”
Despite negative reactions from conservative social media users, Williams continues to shine on Strictly and shows no signs of slowing down.
Strictly Come Dancing airs every Saturday on BBC One.