Maksim found out that what he said about weight and dancers may be twisted during the interviews. Whether his criticisms were directed to his fellow professional Dancing with the stars dancers, it does not matter now since he earned the ire of the fans fo Cheryl Burke and Lacy Schwimmer.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy has denied criticizing Dancing With the Stars pros Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer over their weight, telling PEOPLE his reported comments were "taken completely out of context."
"I am outspoken but I do not discriminate how people look," Chmerkovskiy, 28, says. "That's the great thing about ballroom – unlike jazz and ballet – it doesn't discriminate. People of all shapes and sizes and levels of ability can take part in ballroom dancing."
He says he had been commenting generally about "how excess weight on the body takes its toll on the joints, the lower back," he explains. Schwimmer put on weight after an extensive recuperation period following knee surgery last year. Burke told PEOPLE last month she gained a few pounds over the summer, the result of not dancing every day.
"I never criticized Cheryl or Lacey," Chmerkovskiy says.
He has since been slammed by fans, receiving email messages "telling me to go back to my country," he says, noting that he has spoken with Burke and has reached out to Schwimmer. "We're fine. I'm dancing with Cheryl next week."