Once again, Wendy Williams is under fire for problematic behaviour on her show. Two weeks ago, the now disqualified RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 contestant, Sherry Pie, real name Joey Gugliemelli, was exposed for years of fraudulent activities and sexual misconduct. Ben Shimkus was the first person to come forward with accusations against Sherry Pie, claiming he had been exploited by the other performer in a series of catfish incidents.
After Shimkus came forward, other victims followed to tell their stories of how the drag star had used an alias and tricked them into performing sexual acts on camera for acting opportunities that never came to fruition. The community has been shocked by these revelations, which Sherry Pie later admitted to, and VH1 and World of Wonder Productions, who produce Drag Race have since disqualified the contestant from winning the show or attending the live finale. Despite all this however, Wendy Williams and her guest Michael Yo poked fun at the catfish situation.
On the Wendy Williams Show, comedian and personality Michael Yo sat down with the host during the “Inside Scoop” segment to discuss the Sherry Pie catfish situation. While Michael explained what had happened in a very casual and light tone, he and Wendy even giggled at some of the details of the story. After laughing with Wendy about the Sherry Pie case, Michael went on to ask why the catfish victims didn’t “do research”, which, despite him saying that he wasn’t blaming the victims, came across as victim-blaming to many.
Shimkus spoke out about the pain and upset he is experiencing currently as the traumatic experiences he and the other victims went through are being used as the butt of jokes across all forms of media. In a GayCities article, Shimkus described Yo’s comments as “dismissive and vapid” and stated that, “we have a lot of work to do to advance our conversations around how we treat people who speak out against sexual harassment and coercion.”
In response to the actions of Wendy Williams and her guest as well as Shimkus’ article, many in the LGBT+ community are calling for the Wendy Williams Show to be cancelled with many using the hashtag #cancelwendywilliams to air their grievances at the already controversial host. Just last month Wendy came under fire for her comments that gay men should “stop wearing our skirts and our heels” because they’ll “never be the women we are,” which she later tearfully apologised for in a video posted to her Twitter.
You can watch the episode in question below, with the section speaking about Sherry Pie’s victims beginning at 31:01.
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