Just one episode into season 12, RuPaul’s Drag Race is facing some controversy.
Contestant Sherry Pie, real name Joey Gugliemelli, has been disqualified from the competition after multiple catfishing claims, which he then admitted to and apologized for in a statement of his own. Sherry Pie will make her debut in tonight’s episode.
“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race,” said a spokesperson for VH1 and 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.”
Guglimelli was accused of posing as a casting director who led actors over email to submit audition tapes of themselves doing “degrading” things. One actor detailed his experiences with Gugliemelli in a Facebook post, explaining how they became friends in college at State University of New York College at Cortland. Another friend then told him about a play that was casting, and referred him to casting director Allison Mossey, who was actually Gugliemelli.
Per the Facebook post, “Mossey” then instructed him to film scenes that were sexual, awkward, and embarrassing, and he claimed he had other friends and acquaintances who had gone through the same thing.
Buzzfeed News then published interviews with four other men who had similar accusations, around the same time that Gugliemelli posted his own statement to Facebook.
“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,” 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. 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.”
The season 12 premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race continues tonight at 8 p.m. on Vh1