Matthew Morrison fired from ‘SYTYCD’ after he sent ‘flirty’ DMs to a contestant

by Susan Ryant

Late last week, we learned that Matthew Morrison had been fired/let go from So You Think You Can Dance, where he was a “judge.” We were told that an “inappropriate relationship” with a contestant was at the root of his dismissal. I took that to mean that he was having a relationship with one of the contestants and perhaps showing bias (as a judge) towards the contestant. But the cover story didn’t tell the whole story. This was not a “relationship,” this was Matthew Morrison harassing a contestant after seeking her out on social media. The contestant showed the messages to producers and they thought it was “inappropriate.”

New details are emerging about Matthew Morrison’s sudden departure from his judging gig on So You Think You Can Dance. A source close to the Fox reality show tells PEOPLE that Morrison, 43, was fired from the series “after he had an inappropriate relationship with a female contestant.”

“They didn’t have sex, but he reached out to her through flirty direct messages on social media,” the source says. “She felt uncomfortable with his line of comments and went to producers, who then got Fox involved. He was fired after they did their own investigation.”

The source adds that Morrison and the unidentified female contestant “never met up off-set.”

“It was just messages that crossed the line,” the source notes. Reps for Morrison and Fox did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

News that the Tony Award-nominated Broadway star had exited SYTYCD broke on Friday, a little more than a week after the dance competition series aired its season 17 premiere on May 18. At the time, Morrison said in a statement to PEOPLE that he was leaving the show after failing to follow “competition production protocols.”

[From People]

Again, this should not be called a “relationship.” This was a contestant existing online, and a person in a position of authority choosing to seek her out online and sexually harass her. That being said, I appreciate the fact that studios, networks and streamers are really starting to take sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior and abusive behavior seriously, even from their big-name “talent.” Even a few years ago, Morrison’s behavior would have likely been buried and covered up and he would have remained on the show. You can still see how producers are trying to obfuscate the nature of what Morrison did and how inappropriate it was, but hey, at least they actually fired him. Also: Morrison is still married to Renee Puente. Oof.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

Matthew Morrison at ‘The Greatest Dancer’ TV Show, Series 2 launch photocall, London, UK,Image: 541091153, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251, Model Release: no, Credit line: James Shaw / Avalon Matthew Morrison at ‘The Greatest Dancer’ TV show, final photocall, London, UK,Image: 563863507, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251, Model Release: no, Credit line: James Shaw / Avalon Matthew Morrison at ‘The Greatest Dancer’ TV show, final photocall, London, UK,Image: 563863559, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251, Model Release: no, Credit line: James Shaw / Avalon