After a Facebook post and a follow-up BuzzFeed News story accused drag queen Sherry Pie aka Joey Gugliemelli, 28, of catfishing several actors into filming embarrassing videos, VH1 and World of Wonder announced that she would be "disqualified" from Season 12 of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
The statement read, "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 will not appear in the grand finale scheduled to be filmed later this spring."
The same statement ran before the March 6 episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
In a gone-viral Facebook post from March 4, actor Ben Shimkus detailed his initial friendship with Gugliemelli, and accused him of posing online as a casting agent named Allison Mossey/Mossie, enticing him to put himself on video for a possible role in a prestigious production of a play. The play never existed.
"I had to film scenes that felt particularly sexual and awkward, but the opportunity seemed too good to let the overt 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 résumé," Shimkus wrote.
Over time, he came to realize other actors had had similar exchanges with Mossey/Mossie — and that while no one had ever met her, the other actors had similar connections to Gugliemelli.
"Sherry will be a blast to watch on the show," he concluded, referencing her potentially star-making debut on "RuPaul's Drag Race," which was set for March 6. "I hope that the success she will undoubtedly have allows her to break free from using internet personas to objectifying other gay men... I hope Allison Mossey and other tactics of sexualizing people in our community without their consent is put to an end."
A March 5 BuzzFeed News report quoted Shimkus and four other men, all claiming similar catfishing by Gugliemelli. One went so far as to masturbate on video in the hopes that it would help him secure a part in an HBO project called "Bulk," and filmed himself with the help of Gugliemelli — at Mossey/Mossie's emailed insistence. The series never existed.
A minute before the BuzzFeed News piece was published, Gugliemelli admitted to the accusations, posting an apology on Facebook.
He wrote, "This is Joey, I want to start by saying how sorry I am that I caused such trauma and pain and how horribly embarrassed and disgusted I am with myself. 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. I learned on that show how important 'loving yourself' is and I don’t think I have ever loved myself."
He went on to say, "I have been seeking help and receiving treatment since coming back to NYC. I truly apologize to everyone I have hurt with my actions. I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company. All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work."