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RuPaul gets called out for lack of diversity in Drag Race following historic Emmys win

Nick Duffy September 23, 2019
The crew of RuPaul's Drag Race attend the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

The crew of RuPaul's Drag Race attend the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

RuPaul has rejected questioning over a lack of diversity on the production crew on RuPaul’s Drag Race after his historic win at the Emmys.

The drag star picked up his sixth Emmy on Sunday, September 22, winning the award for Best Reality-Competition Program.

However, there were awkward scenes in the press room after the award, when Essence writer Danielle Young challenged the sea of all-white faces from the Drag Race crew who accompanied RuPaul on stage.

She said: “I have a question about the hot-button term diversity that always gets thrown around. We’re looking at your team and I don’t see a lot of diversity.

“I’m curious about how you feel, especially as someone who represents so strongly for the LGBT+ community… Do you feel like it’s important for that to be represented behind the scenes as well?”

RuPaul deflects questions over lack of Drag Race diversity.

RuPaul replied: “And the BLT community, I love myself from bacon, lettuce, tomato. First of all, the host of our show is black, gay and a drag queen, so check, check and check.

“But we’re pretty diverse, there are lots of different types of people here. But is it important? Absolutely.”

Drag Race: RuPaul and the team behind RuPaul's Drag Race pose with awards for Outstanding Competition Program in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
RuPaul and the team behind RuPaul’s Drag Race pose with awards for Outstanding Competition Program in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

He added: “When I grew up, I had to fight, like… I feel like I’m about to quote a movie right now… but it wasn’t easy.

“You know what I had to do? Some of the things, I’m not even going to repeat what I had to do!”

Number of white men took reporter ‘off guard’.

The response did not impress Young, who explained on Twitter: “Let me be clear. I asked about diversity on @RuPaulsDragRace’s staff bc it honestly caught me off guard to see so many white men behind Ru in the press room.

“His show centers diversity & the staff seemingly doesn’t. As a journalist, I wanted to give him the space to address that.”

She added: “What bothered me about RuPaul’s response. 1. When I said he reps the LGBT community, he said also the BLT community. 😒

“2. He thinks bc he is Black, gay & a drag queen, that somehow is diversity quota is met. 3. He couldn’t quote The Color Purple. 4. Look at the ‘diversity’.”

She shared a photo of the Drag Race crew on the red carpet, dominated by white men.

RuPaul is yet to respond to the exchange.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “Thanks for the academy for voting for us. But speaking of voting, go and register to vote! Go to vote.gov — vote.gov and vote! Register! We love you so much everybody.”

More: diversity, Emmys, rupaul, RuPaul's Drag Race

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