Celebrity Big Brother viewers label India Willoughby a ‘liar’ after new images emerge
TV news presenter and Loose Women panelist India Willoughby has been criticised for claiming to have a fear of drag – after pictures emerged of her hanging out with drag artists.
The photos, which were taken at Harrogate Pride with some drag queens from the collective Haus of Dench, contradicted Willoughby’s claims that she had never been to a Pride event.
Photos taken from her Twitter account showed that she had socialised with drag queens in the past.
Sharing screenshots of the photos, one CBB viewer tweeted: ” It’s amazing how India has an incredible phobia of drag queens. I’ll just leave these here…make of it what you will…#cbb #cbbuk.”
India attacked the art of drag after housemate Shane Jenek, who is better known for performing as Courtney Act, helped a fellow contestant, Apprentice star Andrew Brady, to transform into a drag queen.
After a two hour makeover, Jenek revealed their work to a delighted group.
However, Willoughby fell silent before unleashing a storm of abuse on her fellow housemates for laughing at the drag transformation.
The 51-year-old stormed away from the room and began to cry – pinning her distress on her “drag phobia”.
“It did [upset me]. Why? I’m a woman, not what [he thinks] a woman! Not a man. A man walked into the room in a dress, and everyone laughed at it.
“I’ve got something called gender dysphoria, which you can only resolve with medical attention. Someone coming in dressed that way, freaks me out.”
Viewers reacted angrily after the images emerged online, suggesting India had not been entirely honest about her fear of drag artists.
Willoughby then compared drag to blackface, adding: “Transexual people have suffered over the years, a lot of laughter. Probably like the old days when the black-and-white minstrels put on a show… Obviously, black people would find that offensive.”
The comments sparked outrage among her fellow housemates, with Brady calling her a “f***ing d***head”.
Malika, another housemate, was also angered over Willoughby’s response.
“Everyone should not have to stop their fun because of one person,” she said. “Male, female, transgender, gay, bisexual, lesbian — whatever the heck you want to be. Be a zebra. No-one has done that. If I had a phobia, I’m not looking for permission. I’m getting out of there.”
Online, similar outrage was expressed over her comparison between drag and blackface.
“India’s credibility as a human being was over the minute she compared drag to blackface. I have no words. How can someone be so ignorant, speechless,” one person wrote.
Another said: “Did India really just compare the black and white minstrels to drag queens ? Oh dear oh dear.”
“She’s coming across anything but fabulous. Attention seeking, nasty piece of work with a grudge against the world. Not doing any good for the trans community,” a third added.
Others branded her a “disgrace and a hypocrite” and a “big delusional ball of nonsense” that was making the other contestants “on egg shells”.
Since entering the house, Willoughby has been at the centre of a number of controversies, including her flippant dismissal of gender fluid people.
“For people like me, it’s not a part-time thing and not a choice”, Willoughby said.
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“That word ‘transgender’ can mean anything from RuPaul to someone who’s Bob one day and Barbara another day, and I think that cheapens the seriousness of it”.
The RuPaul’s Drag Race season six runner-up identifies as gender fluid when not in drag, but uses female pronounces when performing.
Viewers have also defended Willoughby after she was misgendered by two other housemates, Ann Widdecombe and Rachel Johnson.