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Drag Race producers reveal behind the scenes scramble that followed Sherry Pie’s ‘gut punch’ disqualification

Reiss Smith June 2, 2020
Drag Race Sherry Pie

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

Two Drag Race producers have revealed for the first time what happened behind the scenes following Sherry Pie’s disqualification.

The much-loved franchise faced an unprecedented crisis when season 12 Sherry Pie was disqualified from the competition.

Sherry – real name Joey Gugliemelli – was kicked off the show after being accused of cat fishing a number of young actors.

The accusations emerged hours before Sherry was due to make her debut on the show, and months after season 12 had been filmed (save for its reunion and finale episodes).

“We were devastated when we first found out,” Randy Barbato, founder of Drag Race production company World of Wonder, told Variety.

Sherry Pie plunged Drag Race into unchartered territory.

Barbato said Sherry Pie’s elimination “was a gut punch”.

“We were [already] delivering episodes of the show,” he said. “There was no road map. There were long conversations with the network and World of Wonder, and yeah, there were no reference points for us.”

After Sherry’s first episode aired, the production team scrambled to reedit the remaining episodes to “minimise” her air time.

All of her confessionals were replaced, with the episodes aired only featuring Sherry in werk room scenes and challenges where she interacted with other queens, and on the runway (though one episode cut her from that portion completely).

Tom Campbell, an executive producer on Drag Race along with Barbato, said: “It was case-by-case and just trying to make sure that we were honouring the queens and telling the story so it made sense for the audience — that was our only goal.”

We wanted to protect the victims and the queens.

A side-by-side video shared to Reddit shows how the crew achieved this by using different camera angles, and in some cases cropped Sherry out of the frame.

“We live in a crazy, black and white, very threatening world of social media, and I think we wanted to protect all parties — the victims and the queens and everyone,” Campbell said.

Barbato added: “But we also knew that we had this amazing cast, we had this amazing season, and we knew that this season and the cast were bigger and more powerful than a scandalous headline.”

Ultimately Sherry made it all the way to the end of the season, and would have been in the top four were it not for her disqualification.

She was not featured in either the reunion or the finale – though Brita alluded to what went down while reading Dahlia Sin for “coming 13th on a 12 queen season”.

More: Drag Race, Sherry Pie

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