Drag Race alumn Shangela accused of sexual assault

Darius Jeremy 'DJ' Pierce, better known by his drag name Shangela, is currently facing sexual assault allegations from five men.

Drag queen Shagela posing for a photo wearing a red dress and cowl.
Image: @itsshangela via Instagram, Darius Jeremy "DJ" Pierce, aka Drag Race alumn Shangela, is facing multiple accusations of sexual assault.

Content Warning: Contains descriptions of sexual assault. 

Darius Jeremy “DJ” Pierce, more popularly known as the drag performer Shangela, is under fire after multiple men have come out against the queen with allegations of sexual assault.

Pierce, who joined the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 2 in 2010, rose to popularity over the years due to his infectious personality and humour, even earning himself a spot on the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 in 2018. 

Since his time on the show, Pierce has become one of the most prolific Drag Race alumni, including being listed as one of the 15 most successful Drag Race queens by Screen Rant, alongside icons like Trixie Mattel and Bianca Del Rio. 

Pierce’s reputation, however, is currently under fire after five separate men have come forward with sexual assault allegations against the drag performer. According to a Rolling Stone profile on the situation, the men claim that Pierce/Shangela either outright assaulted them or attempted to initiate sexual contact when the complainants were too intoxicated to consent. According to the profile, the allegations do not implicate either RuPaul Charles or Drag Race. 

Of the five men who have come forward with allegations against Pierce, a man named Helmer is leading the charge after filing a complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). According to Helmer, 27, he and Pierce met at a Los Angeles bar in 2017 and later arranged to meet up on social media. 

In his report, Helmer alleged that he got together with Pierce for a “late dinner” in 2017. He claimed that the evening took a turn for the worse when Pierce ordered him a mojito. Helmer later told detectives at the LAPD that he woke up “completely naked on a bed” and had “no recollection of the events that occurred after he drank” the mojito. 

Helmer went on to tell police that Pierce told him that they had had sex. He also asserted that Pierce told him: “There was another guy involved that you brought in.” Pierce allegedly claimed not to know the third party but maintained that the two had had sex and that Hemler was “really into it.”

While Pierce has yet to make a public statement regarding the allegations, his attorney, Andrew Brettler, told Rolling Stone that the allegations were “absurd,” claiming that any sexual interaction between Pierce, Helmer, and the unknown third party was “consensual.”

Helmer is not the sole complainant in the ongoing case, as other alleged victims have come forward, including Edward Ramirez. Ramirez, now 26, in 2018, Pierce “shoved [him] on the floor in a closet and tried to penetrate [him].”

“I’m very confident I was clear with my ‘no’s’. I was declining advances,” said Ramirez in an interview with Rolling Stone. “He still kept trying anyway.”

According to Pierce’s lawyer, however, Ramirez’s allegations are baseless, as he claims that there were at least three eye-witnesses who could “attest that Mr. Pierce and Mr. Ramirez were never alone together” on the night of the alleged assault. 

All five men who have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Pierce/Shangela told Rolling Stone that they identify as queer and admitted that they were nervous to come forward with information due to the ongoing anti-drag legislation in the US. The men claimed that they feared implicating Pierce would only bring about more vitriol against the LGBTQ+ community in America, especially as Shangela is one of the most prolific queens in the country, having appeared in mainstream projects like We’re Here, Glee and A Star is Born

“[Pierce is] a huge spokesperson for a community in which they have hurt quite a few people. I would hope that people take this kind of thing seriously,” said Zein Checri, yet another man who has come forward with allegations against Pierce. According to Checri, Pierce attempted to penetrate him without consent in 2017. At the time, Checri was only 18 years old. “It’s a big relief that, finally, this conversation is starting to happen.” 

According to the Los Angeles Times, this is not the first time that Pierce/Shangela has faced a sexual assault allegation. Ten months ago, the drag performer was taken to court after Daniel McGarrigle, a production assistant, accused the former Drag Race contestant of raping him. 

McGarrigle later agreed to a settlement in February of 2024, with Pierce saying that he was “hurt and disgusted” by the “totally untrue allegations.”

While Shangela has yet to respond to the allegations online, former fans have been outspoken about their distaste for the queen following recent revelations – with many taking to social media to voice their outrage.

One user posting to X/Twitter shared Rolling Stone‘s article on the situation with a caption that read: “Shangela has successfully swept this under the table twice, even though I believe the assault allegations are a big part of the reason why We’re Here was recasted for season 4. Here’s hoping that the victims coming forward this time are enough.”

If you have been affected by this story or are are looking to reach out to someone for
support or advice or just to talk, there are numerous services available for LGBTQ+
people, listed below, and many offer instant messaging support.



LGBT Helplines 

The Switchboard 

Dublin Lesbian Line 

Belong To 


LGBTQI Pavee Point 


HIV Ireland 


Pieta House 


Mental Health Ireland 

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 

Garda Confidential Line

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