“I will no longer take part in 'Dance Moms,'” Abby Lee Miller says of the long-running Lifetime series in what could be an exit or another ploy in a consistently brinkmanship relationship with the show’s producers.
However, the apparently ex-host might not be crying wolf this time as she is less than two months away from a long-delayed sentencing hearing that could see her behind bars for more than two years for fraud.
“I don’t have a problem working with any kid, I love children and have dedicated my life to making other people’s children successful!” Miller added in the Instagram post she put up late Sunday about exiting the Collins Avenue Entertainment-produced show that is filming its eighth season. “I just have a problem with being manipulated, disrespected and used — day in and day out by men who never took a dance lesson in their lives and treat women like dirt!”
While this is far from the first time Miller has raged online at producers on "Dance Moms," it certainly seems to be the most definite in the context of her legal case. However, perhaps hoping for a change of heart or a calming period, when contacted by Deadline, Lifetime said it had “no comment” on the declaration that Miller put up online on Sunday.
“With the damning Maddie book out and the court case, this has reached a breaking point that could work out better for the show if Abby really goes,” a source close to the situation did tell Deadline today of a Miller-less "Dance Moms" that could be formed.
"The Maddie Diaries," a tell-all memoir by ex-"Dance Moms" star and "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" judge Maddie Ziegler, came out on March 7 – and it slams “silly” Miller without ever mentioning her by name.
It is unclear if the already-filmed episodes of season 7 with Miller would make it to air, but that seems to be the plan at this point, the source says. Another insider cautioned about reading too much into Miller’s “latest temper tantrum,” saying she “does this all the time.”
Having pleaded guilty to various charges of fraud and violating currency reporting laws on June 27, Miller could learn her fate on May 8 or 9. Earlier this year in an initial sentencing hearing, federal prosecutors said that they want the dance instructor to get 2 1/2 years behind bars and a bunch of fines for the 20 counts of fraud on which she was indicted in October 2015.
While they haven’t yet presented their final argument to Pittsburgh-based federal Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti, Miller’s lawyers have made it clear in court filings that they think their first-time offender client should get probation on the hiding of more than $775,000 that she got from the series.
The whole shell game of sorts, which among other things saw Collins Avenue paying Miller’s fees to her mom instead, only came to light when the judge in the host’s almost-completed bankruptcy case came across "Dance Moms" on TV one night by chance over five years ago.
Watching, Judge Thomas Agresti wondered why money from the show was never a part of the bankruptcy he was overseeing, which had Miller claiming a total income of $8,899 a month. That pondering soon led to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh pursuing the case of the missing money, and the charges against Miller resulted.
Charges that soon could result in a future of prison, not performance, for Miller.
Liz Calvario contributed to this report.