While the pro dancer says she's 'not victim shaming,' she praises the Backstreet Boys star as 'one of the most respectful' people she has worked with on the dancing competition show.
In an essay posted on her blog, Melissa alleged Nick sexually assaulted her in his apartment back in 2002. She was 18 and he was 22 at the time of the incident. In response, Nick later issued a statement in which he said that he was "shocked and saddened" by the accusation and that Melissa did not express that their actions were non-consensual.
In videos shared on Twitter over the weekend, Sharna defended Nick, but noted that she's "not victim shaming." Praising Nick's character, the 32-year-old Aussie ballroom dancer wished to share positivity about "one of the most respectful guys that I have ever danced with on the show."
After describing Nick as a "sweet and understanding" guy, Sharna, whose partnership with the singer/actor saw them on the runner-up spot in season 21 of the ABC competition series, pointed out how he's never been one to shy away from his mistakes.
"What I loved about Nick was that he always took ownership of the things that he'd been through, the darkness in his history, the mistakes that he'd made," Sharna said. "He wanted to be very open about them and how he felt about them, even though they were very heavy and hard for him to say out loud, so that he could inspire other people to be better and learn from him."
Part 1. These are only my thoughts, this is not victim shaming, y’all know me and I would never. Just because I support Nick, doesn’t mean I don’t support female empowerment or #metoo. They are both movements that I am a part of, here for and proud of. pic.twitter.com/J8Gz7dczhv— Sharna Burgess (@SharnaBurgess) December 3, 2017
She also praised Nick for being down-to-earth when dealing with everyone who worked on the show. "This guy would treat craft [services] and the PAs and all the crew and grips, and then the dancers to the producers, everybody was treated the same by Nick," she said. "No one got more attention than the other and even in the most stressful of moments, not once did he ever speak to anybody badly, demand anything, become a diva or show anything ugly."
"[He only showed] absolute gratitude for being there and having made it that far, and a passion for working hard and trying to do better," she continued, before describing Nick as a "good person." "This is me saying, 'Nick, I adore you. I think you are such a good person from the inside to the out, and I think that that will shine through,' " she added. "I think that the truth always shines through."
Part 2. Nothin but love. 💗 pic.twitter.com/AFiiKijclI— Sharna Burgess (@SharnaBurgess) December 3, 2017
Making it clear that she's "not victim shaming," Sharna captioned one of the videos, "These are only my thoughts, this is not victim shaming, y'all know me and I would never. Just because I support Nick, doesn't mean I don't support female empowerment or #metoo. They are both movements that I am a part of, here for and proud of."