After winning season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sharon Needles allegedly abused an underage fan for years, per an investigation by The Daily Beast. A fan named Annecy recounted a number of allegations to the outlet, claiming that Needles, legal name Aaron Coady, had physically and sexually abused them and encouraged them to self-harm, among other claims. Annecy said these acts began in 2013, when they were 15 and had won a trip on a Drag Race cruise. They said they spent a lot of time on the cruise with Needles, who was then 31, along with his then-boyfriend, Alaska Thunderfuck (later a Drag Race All Stars winner), whom Annecy also said had exposed himself to them. Annecy detailed many of their allegations against Needles to others and on social media dating back to 2013, per The Daily Beast, and eventually wrote about their experience with Needles on social media in a since-deleted post. A lawyer for Needles told The Daily Beast, “Sharon has vehemently denied the allegations against her and is prepared to defend herself against this individual to the fullest extent possible.”
Annecy said they got in touch with Needles over Vine in 2013 and began to develop a relationship over FaceTime and other social-media platforms, during which Annecy opened up about their self-harm and suicidal ideation, until April 2015. The Daily Beast included a video reportedly sent to Annecy corroborating the claims that Needles had encouraged self-harm.
Multiple other fans told The Daily Beast about Needles’s behavior during meet and greets, with one saying Needles had groped her and another saying he made a joke about eating disorders. Another former fan of Needles’s also said the drag queen had groped her. Many of the fans interviewed mentioned Needles’s past history of racism and using racial slurs, which has been previously documented, including by other Drag Race queens.
No former Drag Race queens spoke to The Daily Beast about Needles. Season six’s Joslyn Fox, though, had previously called Annecy’s 2020 social-media claims “heartbreaking” and “even harder to read when you know it’s true” on Twitter. After Annecy came forward about Needles’s alleged conduct on social media, season-ten winner and Needles’s former drag daughter, Aquaria, distanced herself from him. “I feel awful for anyone he has hurt,” Aquaria tweeted. “I have also said this a million times already, but I do not support that man and SERIOUSLY do not wish to continue speaking on my experiences beyond being supportive towards the victim.” Of coming forward, Annecy told The Daily Beast, “I just want to see some sort of accountability, but at this point, I don’t think that’s something I’m going to get from him, so it’s up to the people around him to hold him accountable — and I don’t feel like that’s happened.”