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BBC throws out complaints claiming Drag Race UK was ‘based on a misogynistic premise’

Reiss Smith May 4, 2020
Divina De Campo, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz

Divina De Campo, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz made it to the top three of Drag Race UK. BBC)

The BBC has dismissed complaints that RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is anti-women.

Drag Race UK was accused of being “based on [a] misogynistic premise” by an unspecific number of viewers, the BBC has revealed.

A fortnightly BBC report stated that its Executive Complaints Unit had dismissed the complaints against the series, which first aired in October and November 2019 on iPlayer, but has recently been replayed on BBC One.

The series had previously been accused of “pure misogyny” by the author and playwright Rose Colins over its use of words such as “fishy”, which she said is a “derogatory term for the female anatomy”.

Drag Race UK challenged over exclusion of women.

Collins spoke on an episode of Woman’s Hour, which also challenged the series’ exclusion of women drag performers.

During the discussion artist Victoria Sin said: “A lot of drag is really misogynistic in a really unacceptable way.

“We should definitely challenge drag queens and platforms that are promoting misogynist drag.”

A BBC spokesperson said at the time that the series is “widely recognised as inclusive, celebratory and empowering”.

Michelle Visage on the Drag Race UK judging table with RuPaul, Graham Norton and Maisie Williams
Michelle Visage on the judging table with RuPaul, Graham Norton and Maisie Williams. (BBC)

After the series ended, winner The Vivienne was accused of misogyny after she was asked to define “fishy” on Channel 4’s Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

Neither she nor Baga Chipz, who also appeared gave a definition for the last term, but nodded when one contestant said it was used to describe a queen who looked like “a real woman.”

The Vivienne later apologised “for any offence caused,” explaining that she was “given a cue card to read moments before going on camera.”

Baga Chipz’s Margaret Thatcher jokes attracted complaints.

Drag Race UK also attracted complaints over an “inappropriate Falklands reference” made by Baga Chipz during the Snatch Game episode.

Two viewers contacted the BBC after Baga was asked to suggest a Spice Girl name for judge Michelle Visage.

“Belgrano Spice,” she said. “Like the ship, she likes to go down.”

A spokesman said the complaint was rejected because the series “has a long and well-established tradition of tackling adult themes”, and because the joke was a clear parody.

Drag Race UK season two delayed.

Drag Race UK was due to return for a second season later this year, however the BBC has confirmed that filming on the new episodes has been “paused” due to coronavirus.

The British edition isn’t the only one to be affected by the pandemic.

Drag Race season 12 is currently just four episode away from its finale.

Traditionally RuPaul crowns the winner in a packed theatre, with the grand final filmed just weeks before it airs.

It appears that the traditional crowning is off the cards this year, with speculation that the season will end in a Zoom reunion given weight last week by Nicky Doll.

More: BBC, Drag Race, rupaul

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