“RuPaul’s Drag Race” has taken the almost unprecedented step of disqualifying one of the contestants who is set to appear this season.
Sherry Pie, whose non-drag name is Joey Gugliemelli, has been kicked off the show after admitting to catfishing allegations made by several young actors. In one Facebook post by Ben Shimkus on Wednesday, Gugliemelli is accused of having posed under the pseudonym of Allison Mossey and asked Shimkus to “film scenes that felt particularly sexual” for an audition. Later, having sent the tape to Mossey, Shimkus never heard from her again.
On Thursday, BuzzFeed News published a report featuring interviews with Shimkus and four other men who reported strikingly similar experiences. One man said he agreed to allow Gugliemelli to film him masturbating, with the understanding that it was part of the audition process for an HBO series (that did not exist).
“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,'” confirmed a statement from VH1 and the show’s producer World of Wonder. “Out of respect for the hard work of the other queens, VH1 will air the season as planned. Sherry will not appear in the grand finale scheduled to be filmed later this spring.”
A source close to the production confirmed to Variety that Sherry Pie will still appear in tonight’s episode, and that the network will still air the rest of the season, which was filmed last year, as planned.
It’s unclear how far Sherry Pie progresses on the show; usually, all the drag queens who are eliminated over the course of the season return to appear on the finale. But the fact that VH1 and World of Wonder felt it necessary to announce Sherry Pie was disqualified from winning the show — rather than a more generic statement condemning Gugliemelli’s actions — suggests that Sherry Pie could advance quite far in the season.
As referenced in VH1’s statement, Gugliemelli appeared to confess that the allegations were true in a message posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday.
“This is Joey, I want to start by saying how sorry I am that I caused such trauma and pain and how horribly embarrassed and disgusted I am with myself,” the post read. “I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel. Until being on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant. I learned on that show how important ‘loving yourself’ is and I don’t think I have ever loved myself. I have been seeking help and receiving treatment since coming back to NYC. I truly apologize to everyone I have hurt with my actions. I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company. All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work.”
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