Tonight concludes the second half of the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 premiere, where we will meet the rest of the queens, including New York drag performer Sherry Pie.
But while we should be rooting for the possibility of another New York Queen making it to the finale and possibly snatching another crown, she’s been instead swathed in a bit of controversy.
Sherry Pie (real name: Joey Gugliemelli) has been accused of catfishing five young men by pretending to be a casting director and tricking them into sending him videos of them performing lewd acts.
One guy, 23-year-old Josh Lillyman, spilled the tea to BuzzFeed News that he was pressured by Gugliemelli to masturbate on camera as part of a fake audition process.
“I did everything he asked me to because at that point he had built up so much detail for the show that I was truly convinced it was real and associated with HBO,” he said. “It took a lot for me to break that delusion. I was willingly doing all the things he was asking me to.”
Yesterday, Gugliemelli, 28, took to Facebook to apologize for his behavior, and revealed that he has struggled with mental health issues and is currently seeking help.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Not long after this story broke, VH1 and World of Wonder, the production company that produces Drag Race issued a statement, immediately disqualifying Pie from the show.
“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a spokesperson for VH1 and World of Wonder said in a statement. “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.”
Since season 12 was filmed last summer, and this controversial story could be the beginning of the end for Sherry’s drag career (I can’t see any gay clubs or promoters wanting to book Sherry after this), I hope when the finale is filmed as well as the Ru-Union that the queens and RuPaul will give their thoughts on this story, because while I have been enjoying this season so far (and it’s been a while since I can say that about a Drag Race season) this is not a story that you can just sweep under the rug without properly addressing.