World-renowned ballet star Sergei Polunin has been dropped from a dance production in Paris after an Instagram post in which he expressed homophobic and sexist sentiments.
The 29-year-old Ukrainian native had been slated to star as Prince Siegfried in Paris Opera Ballet’s “Swan Lake” in February. On Saturday, however, the invitation was withdrawn.
Aurélie Dupont, artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet, wrote in an email to the company that while she “recognized Mr. Polunin’s talent, she had discovered public statements that had shocked her, and which didn’t correspond to her values or to those of the institution she represents,” a press representative told The New York Times on Monday.
Among the troubling statements included a Dec. 29 Instagram post in which Polunin declared, “Man up to all men who is doing ballet there is already ballerina on stage don’t need to be two.”
“Man should be a man and woman should be a woman,” he added. “Masculine and Feminine energies creates balance.”
Polunin, who holds both Russian and Ukrainian passports. has been vocal in his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has a portrait of Putin tattooed on his chest.
In a Nov. 24 Instagram post, he also appeared to back President Donald Trump. “You don’t like Donald Trump because he speaks the truth and speaks his mind!!!” he wrote.
Frequently compared with ballet legends Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev, Polunin rocketed to fame in 2010, when he became the youngest principal of London’s Royal Ballet at age 19. He established his reputation as the “James Dean of ballet” two years later by leaving the company.
He began branching out of the classical dance world in 2015, when he starred in a haunting video of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” filmed by David LaChapelle. The video instantly went viral and has since received more than 26 million views on YouTube.
Polunin’s professional journey was also the subject of a 2016 documentary, “Dancer,” which shed light on his drug and alcohol use.
The dancer has yet to comment publicly on his dismissal.
On Tuesday, however, he appeared to double down on his earlier sentiments on Instagram, writing, “We can’t Make Female and Male energy flat or the same we will destroy the balance of nature and life I won’t let that happen.”