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Drag Race winner formerly known as Tyra Sanchez reportedly arrested for criminal damage

Reiss Smith August 21, 2020
James Ross as Tyra Sanchez

James Ross appearing on Hey Qween as Tyra Sanchez. (YouTube)

James Ross, who won RuPaul’s Drag Race season two as Tyra Sanchez, has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Tyra Sanchez was the stage name of the former Drag Race star up until he retired from performing under a cloud of controversy in March.

He has since stepped away from the limelight, but made headlines Friday (August 21) after TMZ reported he had been arrested and charged with one count of criminal damage to property.

Ross was accused of spray painting “Don’t Move Here Ever” on the side of an apartment complex in Atlanta.

Police were called to the property at around 10.30am Thursday (August 20), and Ross was reportedly taken to Fulton County Jail.

Drag Race winner retires Tyra Sanchez name.

Ross retired the Tyra Sanchez name earlier this year after a string of controversies.

In 2016 he was criticised for telling a fan to “go kill yourself” on social media. RuPaul was quick to defend him, saying: “People don’t get nuance on Twitter, you can’t do irony on Twitter, people won’t get it.”

Two years later, in 2018, Ross was banned from DragCon after making threats toward two other Drag Race alum, Tatiana and Jaremi Carey, who at the time was still performing as Phi Phi O’Hara.

Ross refused to apologise, and after being banned posted a cryptic message warning fans not to attend the event. He was subsequently reported to police and the FBI, accused of terrorism.

Ross later stressed that he had never threatened to “bomb or shoot anything”, and was warning people not to attend the event “because of the racism I’ve experienced with its production company”.

Addressing the racism he had received from so-called fans, Ross said: “From day one I have received nothing but hate, racial slurs and death threats because I beat your favourite.

“For years it broke me, damaged my confidence, and forced me back into a shell. For years in silence I tried to change everything about me. The way I acted, talked, dressed. Even tried to change the colour of my skin.”

In March 2020, Ross officially quit drag, writing on Instagram: “Tyra is a fictional character. She doesn’t breathe. She is not real… I believe Tyra has fulfilled her purpose in my life and it is now time I let her go so I can do the things I want and be free to be myself without worry.”

He added: “For years I have went through torture, harassment and bullying all for the sake of my fans. Never giving up so that they could have some entertainment. Not anymore. I’m done.”

More: Drag Race, Tyra Sanche

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