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Sherry Pie disqualified from Drag Race season 12 over shocking catfishing claims

Emma Powys Maurice March 7, 2020
Sherry Pie

Sherry Pie has apologised after five men accused him of catfishing them for explicit videos (Facebook/Sherry Pie)

Drag Race season 12 queen Sherry Pie has been disqualified after five men accused her of catfishing them for explicit and “degrading” videos.

Sherry Pie, real name Joey Gugliemelli, allegedly posed as a casting director and encouraged the men to send him videos of themselves doing degrading things. One of the young men said he even agreed to masturbate on camera as part of the audition process.

He made his Drag Race season 12 debut on Friday, March 6, as showrunners agreed to air his episodes “out of respect” to the other contestants.

“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a spokesperson for VH1 and production company World of Wonder said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

“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 accusations against Gugliemelli emerged following a viral Facebook status from 25-year-old actor Ben Shimkus.

When Shimkus was a musical theatre student he exchanged approximately 150 emails with a person he believed was an agent named Allison Mossey.

Sherry Pie allegedly “groomed” aspiring actors

As part of the audition process Mossey urged him 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.”

The experience caused him “massive emotional trauma” which brought him to the lowest point of his mental health. He later opened up to his peers and found that six people corroborated stories with him. They realised that “wherever Sherry seemed to go, Allison would follow.”

After Shimkus went public further accounts of catfishing emerged from aspiring actors, including Josh Lillyman, 23, who told BuzzFeed News he met the queen while working on local theatre productions in Nebraska.

Lillyman said he was instructed to email Mossie regarding a part in a HBO show called Bulk, about a muscular man who grows larger and larger until “he fills the whole room”.

Sherry Pie in a promotional photo for Drag Race season 12 (Facebook/Sherry Pie)

After exchanging a number of emails, Lillyman said he was preparing to film a final audition tape when Gugliemelli offered to help. During the hours-long shoot, Lillyman said, Gugliemelli suggested he strip down to his underwear.

Eventually, Lillyman said, Gugliemelli suggested he go to the bathroom and masturbate to make himself feel “more macho”. After he did this, Gugliemelli allegedly proposed he masturbate again on camera. He obliged.

“I did everything he asked be to because at that point he had built up so much detail for the show that I was truly convinced it was real and associated with HBO,” Lillyman said.

“It took a lot for me to break that delusion. I was willingly doing all the things he was asking me to.

“He sort of groomed me, I would say.”

When the claims emerged Gugliemelli posted a grovelling apology to Facebook, saying he was “sorry, embarrassed and disgusted” with himself and has since learned what it really means to “love yourself”.

“I truly apologise to everyone I have hurt with my actions,” he said.

“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 behaviour and that starts with me and doing that work.”

More: catfishing, drag race season 12, RuPaul's Drag Race, Sherry Pie

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