Sex Scandal Stuns Irish Step Dancing World Amid Allegations of Fixed Competitions in Exchange for Sexual ‘Favors’
The world of Irish step dancing is suddenly in the spotlight, but not for the incredible skills of its dancers.
According to The Daily Mail, nearly a dozen Irish dance teachers and judges have been accused of fixing competitions by offering sexual favors to boost their students' standings in various competitions, including the World Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast, Ireland.
In one leaked text message, a judge appeared to tell a dance teacher that they accept "other forms of appreciation."
The teacher responded that if their student received first place, the judge could have "anything you want ;)."
"Is it not time you came to my room?" the judge replied.
Apparently, an Irish dance teacher from the East Coast of the U.S. was the whistleblower on the scandal.
The whistleblower provided screenshots of WhatsApp conversations between as many as 12 Irish dance teachers conspiring to fix competitions via bribes of sexual nature.
In some messages, the teachers even sent photos of their pupils to judges so they could identify them and give them winning medals.
"Girls u11 tomorrow. Don't have [competition] numbers as I'm not going til the morn. [redacted first name and surname] and [redacted first name and surname] are the names," one message allegedly read, to which the judge replied with a wink emoji, according to The Daily Mail.
Irish dancing commission CLRG, a.k.a. An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, said in a statement that "such unethical behavior cannot and will not be tolerated by this organization" and that they are investigating the allegations.
The CLRG is the organizer behind Irish step dance competitions across the U.S., U.K. and Australia, as well as Ireland's World Irish Dancing Championships.
The CLRG first received allegations of a bribery scandal back in July.
Since the bombshell texts were leaked, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has launched a full investigation into the alleged corruption of the Irish step dance industry.
"It needs to be fully and thoroughly investigated so we can find out what the facts are and if people have been engaged in any wrongdoing, [they should be] held to account," Varadkar said in a statement, adding the investigation could potentially "cause reputational harm but the solution is not to cover it up, it's to deal with it and investigate it properly and hold people to account."
"I will also be writing to the organization involved, to seek assurances that they are taking every step necessary to restore confidence, for families right across the world, that their children, their young people are being treated fairly," Irish Arts Minister Catherine Martin added.