If you’re even a casual fan, you already know that RuPaul’s Drag Race has made the switch from Logo to VH1 this season, a decision that was rewarded in the ratings when the season premiere became the series’ single most-watched episode of all time. VH1 even created Fierce Fridays, a live Drag Race viewing party featuring talk-show host Wendy Williams, frequent Drag Race judge Ross Matthews, and a rotating cadre of guests to support the show during the move. But despite their ratings success, not everything is going well for Ru and her girls.
On Monday, former Drag queen Detox, a contestant on season five and All Stars season two, Instagrammed a Facebook post by New York–based drag performer Stephanie Stone. Stone wanted to remind Drag Race fans about an incident on The Wendy Williams Show back in 2009 in which drag performer Erick Atoure Aviance was threatened with expulsion from the show’s audience should she attempt to appear on-camera or otherwise draw attention to herself while wearing a dress and high heels. (The Wendy Williams Show issued an apology following the incident.) “All I remember is when Wendy Williams had Erick Atoure Aviance removed from her studio audience for being in drag … now she’s doing the pre-show for drag race, when are folks gonna realize not everyone’s your ‘friend of the community,’” Stone wrote. Detox seconded the notion that Williams’s involvement in the live show seemed hypocritical on Instagram:
As Mic points out, Michelle Visage, a judge on Drag Race and longtime friend of RuPaul, weighed in with a comment, signing off on Detox’s remarks with a “yup.”
Since then, other former Drag Race stars have started to register their unease with having Williams be a part of the franchise. When asked for comment by the site Unicorn Booty, Alaska Thunderfuck took issue with the talk-show host’s treatment of Caitlyn Jenner during the latter’s transition. “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. I used to watch Wendy’s Hot Topics daily, and some of the things she said during Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition were beyond questionable,” the RuPaul’s All Star Drag Race season two winner said. “At that time, much of the nation was learning to navigate trans visibility for the first time and needed guidance and clarity from the media. But instead Wendy repeatedly spouted ignorance and transphobic rhetoric to a daily audience of millions. I don’t watch her show anymore. And I certainly don’t think she is the right person to be hosting our community’s flagship television program.”