Following “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” move from Logo to VH1, its new home committed to “Fierce Fridays,” a live “Drag Race” viewing party hosted by talk show host Wendy Williams and comedian Ross Matthew. Some of the series’ past queens, however, want Williams gone.
The talk show host has come under fire from a number of past contestants, who accuse Williams of transphobic behavior that’s at odds with the message of the show.
One of the first to speak out was New York drag-performer Stephanie Stone, who posted on Facebook about an incident in 2009 where “The Wendy Williams Show” threatened to remove Erick Atoure Aviance — another drag and nightlife performer — from the audience if she tried to appear on-camera or draw attention to herself. Williams’ producers later issued an apology, saying that the show had a strict no costumes policy.
“When are folks gonna realize not everyone’s your ‘friend of the community,’ Stone wrote.
Detox, who was a contestant on Season 5 and “All-Stars” Season 2, reposted Stone’s statement on Instagram and noted that Williams was “transphobic” and “NOT an ally.”
Alaska, another Season 5 contestant and winner of “All-Stars” Season 2, responded in a statement issued to Unicorn Booty, an LGBTQ blog, echoing Detox’s feelings.
“Frankly, I think the decision to make Wendy Williams one of the hosts of the weekly spots framing commercial breaks for ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’s’ weekly broadcast is tone deaf, untimely and incorrect,” Alaska wrote.
Alaska then refers to comments Williams made during Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, in which the host insinuated that Jenner couldn’t be a woman because she “still has a member.”
“I think it’s good for ‘Drag Race’ to be moving toward the mainstream. I’m grateful for the move to VH1. I’m glad that one million people watched the first episode of Season 9. Our message is one of love and acceptance and truth and strength and perseverance, and I believe it should reach everyone, near and far.
“But I also believe we need to remember who we are. And remember that it is we who built this. We need to be vigilant and respectful when choosing the shepherds into whose hands we’re putting ourselves. We need to be wary of people hitching themselves to the wildly successful “Drag Race” wagon for monetary gain — especially if they can’t even name the winners of season 1, 2 and 3 in order.
“And I’m not the only one who feels this way.”
Take a look at some of the other reactions from across the LGBTQ community and from past “Drag Race” contestants.
At the time of this writing, VH1 has not responded to a request for comment.