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Here's why the latest booking on Tamron Hall Show is courting controversy

Sherry Pie competed on RuPaul's Drag Race last year

tamron hall controversy© Photo: Getty Images
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
February 16, 2021
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Tuesday night's edition of the Tamron Hall Show is attracting controversy after it was announced that New York City-based drag queen Sherry Pie would be one of the guests.

The show made the announcement on Twitter in two separate posts, one of which called the performer one of the "breakout stars" of RuPaul's Drag Race.

However, this has attracted a large backlash as last year it emerged that Sherry Pie had posed as a casting director and catfished aspiring actors.

The booking of Sherry Pie has attracted controversy

Who is Sherry Pie and what did she do?

The performer rose to national prominence last year, when she was announced as one of the 13 contestants on the twelfth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

Sherry made it to the top four of the show, winning two main challenges along the way, including the World's Worst improvisation challenge and Gay's Anatomy acting challenge.

Shortly after the casting announcement, several men came forward saying they had been catfished by Sherry, whose real name is Joey Gugliemelli, who had been pretending to be a casting director.

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They said that the performer had posed under the name of Alison Mossie and sent them scripts for a non-existent play called Bulk, centring around a person who grows more muscular through steroid use.

sherry pie rupauls dragcon© Photo: Getty Images

Sherry Pie admitted to catfishing several aspiring actors

Some of the men said they sent in videos of them performing embarrassing lines from the script, stripping off, and one even said they were encouraged to perform a sexual act on camera.

Sherry confessed to the behaviour in a Facebook post and was subsequently disqualified from the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race and virtually airbrushed out of the pre-recorded season.

Sherry had gone silent on social media following the backlash until Monday night when she confirmed that she would be appearing on The Tamron Hall Show with a posting of the show's line-up.

In an Instagram post, Sherry wrote that it had been a "long year of learning to own my unpardonable mistakes.

"I'll be sharing my story, reflecting on my shameful actions, and working towards making amends."

sherry pie posing on bridge aiden zhane background© Photo: Getty Images

Sherry Pie was a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race

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The Tamron Hall Show confirmed the announcement with two videos, one which called the drag queen one of the "breakout stars" of the show.

A large controversy has now kicked off, with many feeling that the show is giving airtime to a sexual predator instead of focusing on the victims.

How have people reacted to the announcement?

The person who originally drew attention to Sherry's actions, Ben Shimkus, said that none of the people Sherry used had been consulted on the decision.

He said that he had consulted producers of the show saying that himself and none of the 20 other victims he had spoken to wanted the segment to be aired. "They are going to air it despite all of our requests," he said.

ben shimkus sherry pie tamron hall show tweet© Photo: Twitter

Ben Shimkus was the first to come forward about the drag queen

David Mack, the journalist who broke the story on Buzzfeed, was critical of the announcement, writing: "There are things here that suggest a worrying lack of research (accusations? she admitted the behaviour) but the biggest is one victim has already contacted me in distress as it appears there's been no effort to hear from them."

Jackie Cox, who was one of the drag queens who competed against Sherry on the twelfth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, condemned the announcement.

In a series of tweets, she wrote: "I am publicly calling on @TamronHallShow to reconsider giving Sherry Pie access to the platform of national television to tell their side of the story without first speaking to the victims of her abuses and allowing them to weigh in on their own trauma.

"Through personal conversations I have had with these victims, it is clear that the abuses Sherry perpetrated go far beyond what is commonly referred to as 'cat fishing'."

jackie cox sherry pie tamron hall show tweet© Photo: Twitter

Jackie Cox criticised the announcement

She then wrote about some of the actions the men had to do including "filming live sexual acts", "coercing them to use steroids" and "financially controlling them to turn down paying jobs in lieu of the fake film project that Sherry created."

She finished the thread by saying: "Being a performer and public persona is not a right, it is a privilege. Sherry relinquished this privilege by their actions.

"Giving Sherry a spotlight without the forethought to reach out to victims is irresponsible, immoral & wrong. I stand with the victims of Sherry's attacks."

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Many in the comments of the show's announcement were also full of criticism, accusing the show of giving a platform to a "sexual predator."

One also noted that appearing on the same show was a couple deemed the 'Most Catfished Couple' and said that it showed "how seriously" the show would be taking the conversation.

One wrote: "It costs zero dollars to, y'know, NOT invite a sexual predator onto your show to 'share her side.' Do NOT minimize their crimes. Do NOT give them a platform."

Another also focused on the victims, pleading: "Please reconsider. Please use your platform to amplify the voices of survivors and not normalizing the behavior/redemption of predators."

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