It appears HLN host Nancy Grace is on Team Abby.
During a segment of her show on Monday, Grace, 54, addressed the televised “Dance Moms” brawl between reality TV co-stars Abby Lee Miller and Kelly Hyland. Lifetime aired video of the fight on the Feb. 11 episode. According to a criminal complaint filed earlier this year, Miller, the show’s loudmouth dance coach, claimed Hyland struck her and pulled her hair in a November incident. Hyland has pleaded not guilty to assault and harassment charges. She since has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Miller and the show's production company, alleging assault, defamation and breach of contract.
Michael R. Shapiro, Hyland's lawyer, said on the Nancy Grace program Monday that the lawsuit was filed in an effort to protect Hyland's daughters, Brooke, 16, and Paige, 13, both former dance students of Miller. Grace then slammed Hyland (who wasn't present for the interview) for suing the teacher and Lifetime.
“Your client has her child on the air. … If anybody’s taking advantage of her, you’re trying to say it's Lifetime doing it. Your client's doing it, it’s her daughter!” Grace said.
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She added that if abuse was an issue, Hyland should have filed a lawsuit long before the assault charges were filed following their brawl after a rehearsal in November. “Why hasn’t your client sued them or reported them?" Grace asked. "Why is it your client that is charged with assault?”
Shapiro said on the show that the lawsuit, in which Hyland, 42, is suing Miller, 47, and an unidentified Lifetime producer for punitive damages, is in response to the reality-TV mom witnessing unlawful behavior toward her children. “This is really a much larger issue," he said. "It’s the issue of parents protecting their children.
"The larger issue is, does television have the right to trample on the rights of children for television ratings?” he added. “The fact of the matter is this is a mother observing a pattern of horrible behavior toward a child."
Following their on-air discussion, Grace shared her thoughts on Twitter about Hyland's scheduled trial date on May 5 in the Bronx Criminal Court. “I guess this reality star will get a good dose of reality on her own -- in court!” Grace said.
Despite Grace’s stance on Hyland’s lawsuit, after the interview, most of her viewers seemed to be siding with Hyland, not Miller. “If you watched the show you would [side with the] mother’s position,” one fan said in a social media post on Monday. “I’m not advocated for violence, but she deserved it! Abby can be very disrespectful!” another viewer said. “Have you seen how Abby acts? Seriously she was just as much in the wrong,” one of Grace’s Facebook followers said on Tuesday. “She is getting paid to teach these kids, not to control parents and her students. Abby pushes and pushes people to their limits.”