Making History for the Wrong Reasons

Sherry Pie becomes the second queen to ever be disqualified after catfishing allegations rise to the surface


RuPaul's Press Release

RuPaul’s Drag Race has been used as a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community and way for the community and those who are skeptical to find a source of comfort. Recently allegations have been held against one of this season’s newest queens. “Sherry will be a blast to watch on the show. I hope that the success she will undoubtedly have allows her to break free from using internet personas to objectifying other gay men.”

Grace Thiebeau, Staff Writer

This year marks the 12th season of the beloved RuPaul’s Drag Race. As a strong symbol for the LGBTQ+ community, viewers look forward to the new season every year. Every season we are introduced to a new cast of about 13 queens. This year, the group was split in two, giving them two separate premieres, allowing the judges to get to know the queens better. In the second premiere, we met the second group which consisted of six girls, one being Sherry Pie, otherwise known as Joey Gugliemelli. Dominating the competition thus far, Sherry began leaving a precedent and set the bar quite high. About a week after the first episode’s airing on March 4th, Ben Shimkus went to Facebook to make a statement, starting with, “I have a weird story to tell about Sherry Pie.” 

Deeper into the Facebook post, Shimkus illustrated his past with Sherry Pie and told a story including some concerns he had. Shimkus explained when he was in college for musical theatre, he worked alongside Sherry in various shows and that the two even had a friendly relationship. Striving for a new opportunity, Shimkus had a friend reach out to him about an audition opportunity to play at a prestigious playwright theatre with a contact, Allison Mossey. The two continuously bounced back and forth with various emails where Shimkus was sending videos that Allison had asked for– depicting him filming various scenes which to him, were somewhat uncomfortable. This included ones of him taking steroids or performing sexual acts. 

“I had to film scenes that felt particularly sexual and awkward, but the opportunity seemed too good to let the overtly sexual nature or my inhibitions get in the way. I simply told myself that my parents wouldn’t be allowed to see the show, but I wanted the professional experience and the bright and shiny object on my resume.”

Eventually, Shimkus stopped getting regular responses from Allison and decided to reach out to the friend who gave him the contact info. Weaving through various connections and other friends, Shimkus found out that he wasn’t the only one experiencing these things by the hands of Allison Mossey. Digging even deeper, Shimkus decided to call the corporation that Allison was claimed to be apart of, only to find out that there was no such person as Allison Mossey. The group of victims came to the conclusion that Sherry was the creator of Allison Mossey and that her ‘character’ was the person taking advantage of various theatre students behind this persona. 

Sherry Pie later took to his own Facebook to make a response about Shimkus’s prior statement. Taking accountability for his actions Joey (Sherry) made a blanket apology to the victims and other queens involved and agreed that he too was disgusted with his actions. 

“I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel. Until being on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant,” he added, saying he was getting mental health treatment.”

After Shimkus and Sherry’s separate statements, producers decided to take action to ease viewers and hopefully close a confusing and uncomfortable chapter for Sherry’s victims. On the official Twitter account for Rupaul’s Drag Race, the producers made an announcement that Sherry was to be disqualified out of respect for the other queens and victims. When watching the show, a disclaimer appears on the screen before each episode. 

“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Out of respect for the hard work of the other queens, VH1 will air the season as planned. Sherry Pie will not appear in the grand finale scheduled to be filmed later this spring.”

Both fans and queens are devastated and responding to the situation. Although a queen has been disqualified before, this was a shock to the community because Sherry had been doing so well in the show yet, she had the alternate persona that destroyed a lot of lives. A lot of viewers and queens were actually proud of the show and its producers for taking action. In more recent episodes, the editors have been putting little focus on Sherry even when she continues to do well out of respect for everyone.

In Untucked, the separate show that airs after each episode where the queens typically get in fights and discuss the previous week, Sherry’s comments have been withheld and producers with try and edit her out of runways and confessionals. Out of respect for the fashion designer that created most of Sherry’s runways, her looks will still be shown to showcase the designer’s year worth of work.