RuPaul’s Drag Race – Contestant disqualified for sexual manipulation


Courtesy of VH1

Kenneth Fremer

The allegations against Gugliemelli were first detailed by BuzzFeed News in a report on March 5, which detailed his efforts to deceive several actors into recording auditions for fake high-profile productions for companies including HBO, Hulu, and Playwrights Horizons. Gugliemelli, using the pseudonym Allison Mossey, asked victims over the course of dozens of emails to send in audition videos portraying rapid muscle growth and steroid use for the non-existent production “Bulk.” One victim was persuaded to masturbate on-camera with Gugliemelli present.

In a statement posted on Facebook shortly after victims started coming forward, Gugliemelli did not deny any of the allegations made against him. He wrote, “All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work.”

VH1 issued an official response to the allegations the following day, hours before Sherry Pie’s TV debut. The statement, which aired before the March 6 episode of RuPaul’ s Drag Race, read that “Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race. 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.” 

Reactions to VH1’s handling of the allegations have been mixed. “I think they’ve done a good job so far,” said Dennis Nguyen, a fan of the series. “They addressed it with the title card already and have started excluding her from all social media promo.”

Meanwhile, many viewers are calling for the show to reduce Sherry Pie’s screen time in order to avoid providing Gugliemelli with a platform. In an essay for Out, Mikelle Street argued that “there is a way to edit around her, removing the queen’s talking head spots, as well as scenes and exchanges built around her that aren’t essential to the competition.” 

Given the amount of time available each week to re-cut episodes of the season and the ability of other reality TV competitions such as Big Brother to produce, film and edit episodes weekly, VH1 and World of Wonder, the production company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race, have little reason not to cut down Sherry Pie’s screen time. 

Limiting Sherry Pie’s visibility would benefit viewers at home who may feel isolated or triggered upon seeing an abuser’s craft praised on national television. By investing time and money into downsizing Sherry’s role in the series, VH1 and World of Wonder have the opportunity to lead by example by firmly shutting the door on a known abuser.