\'DWTS\' Pro Val Chmerkovskiy Is Being Sued Over a Meme
Val Chmerkovskiy
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images    

Val Chmerkovskiy

‘DWTS’ Pro Val Chmerkovskiy Is Being Sued Over a Meme

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Dancing With the Stars pro Val Chmerkovskiy is being sued over a meme. Seriously.

A few weeks ago, the 29-year-old dancer posted a meme on Facebook featuring a picture of an overweight child drinking a bottle of soda, with the words "letting your kid become obese should be child abuse."

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According to TMZ, the girl in the picture, now 16, is suing Val, the original photographer, and CBS News, which also posted the image, for defamation, emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. She's asking $600k from the photographer, and $6 million apiece from Val and CBS.

The girl in the photograph has Down Syndrome, which is linked to increased risk of obesity. The lawsuit says this is why she is overweight, making this meme especially hurtful.

TMZ also reports the girl's mom contacted the dancer when he first put the post up, asking him to remove it — which he did, saying he was "truly sorry for the lack of sensitivity."

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Val has not directly responded to the lawsuit, but it's hard to imagine this meme he posted on Instagram two days ago isn't prompted by his current situation.

A photo posted by Valentin (@iamvalc) on

The Season 20 winner's fellow pro and longtime friend Sharna Burgess did share her feelings on Instagram, writing "When I have to see a good friend of mine, someone that I have known for over 10 years be accused of something so far outside of his character and what he represents all so an opportunist can make a quick $$ it infuriates me!"

While Sharna doesn't use Val's name in this post, we have to assume it's about him, unless she happens to have another good friend who devotes lots of time to children's hospitals and is going through the exact same situation right now. (Hint: she probably does not.)

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All in all, we feel badly for the girl in this meme, and agree it was probably ill-advised for the famous dancer to put it up. At the same time, it's clear he was just trying to make a point about keeping kids healthy, and didn't mean to hurt anyone — which is why he took it down right away.

We'll keep you updated as more details emerge.

Catch the Dancing With the Stars Season 22 premiere on Monday, March 21, 2016 on ABC.

Check out more of Wetpaint's coverage of Dancing With the Stars below:

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Watch all the DWTS Season 21 Freestyles
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