Drag Race star Widow Von’Du receives outpouring of love after ‘toxic’ fans push her to the brink of quitting drag
Drag Race icon Widow Von’Du received an outpouring of love after admitting so-called fans had pushed her towards quitting drag.
Despite a number of legendary queens speaking out about bullying within the Drag Race fandom in recent months and years, queens of colour – including a large number of Black queens – continue to be targeted with a disproportionate amount of toxicity, and in some cases outright racism.
Now, Widow Von’Du is the latest star to share her own experiences with hate, confessing that trolls have left her feeling like “I don’t wanna do this anymore”.
Just six months after she made her season 12 debut Widow said she’d had enough, tweeting: “You did it! You ran another person of colour away from what they love.
“I try to be strong but y’all done made me feel like I should hate myself and guess what you won.”
You make me feel like I should have just stayed a Kansas City queen! I hate doing this so much and I don’t wanna do this anymore!
— Widow Von’Du (@TheWidowVonDu) August 30, 2020
Widow’s season 12 sister and current reigning drag superstar Jaida Essence Hall was among the first to condemn “toxic fans”.
“This is unacceptable,” Jaida wrote. “This is one of the most talented people I know and for her to feel like this is so bad.”
She added: “It’s crazy the level of talent that this past season has had and its impact during the pandemic was so major, yet there are girls from our season ready to step away from all of this because some of you hateful people.”
Messages of support came from across the Drag Race sisterhood, with Detox imploring the “phenomenal” Widow: “Do not let these a*sholes win”.
WHAT?!?!?! You are PHENOMENAL! Do not let these assholes win! You are a QUEEN!
— Detox (@TheOnlyDetox) August 30, 2020
Others, including Jujubee, Canada’s Anastarzia Anaquway and the UK’s Baga Chipz, sought to remind Widow that despite the hate she has received, there are so many more who idolise her.
I declare today as @TheWidowVonDu DAY!
She is Kind. She is fierce. Her talents stretch far beyond her years. The way she commands the stage cannot be taught. Her poise, smarts and aura cannot be bought.
Ms. WidowVonDu, I love YOU.
— jujubee (@jujuboston) August 31, 2020
Mama you served up iconic lip syncs, and you know I love a good lip sync queen ? take a vacay and come have tacos with me and @HeidiNCloset ??? also wise words that helped me “the only people talking about you are beneath you” ???
— Kameron Michaels (@KameronMichaels) August 31, 2020
Wow wow wow woooow. There are no words that I can say here that can begin to erase the damage that has been done. But Widow I need you to know that there are so many people out there that respect, adore and love you. You are an inspiration to us all! ?????
— Anastarzia Anaquway aka Starzy (@Anaquway) August 31, 2020
I can relate. This fandom just makes it so toxic. Make you feel worthless. But know this… YOU ARE WORTH something. Probably even more than just drag. Fuck emmmmmmm. Sending you love
— Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams (@kalKARBdashianw) August 30, 2020
You are wonderful. Ignore the little twat weasels. Sending you love.
— Baga Chipz (@ChipShopBird) August 30, 2020
Widow Von’Du not only produced TWO God-tier lipsync performances in the span of ONE episode… she’s also one of the most talented performers in the show’s history. You all better show her some goddamn respect!!! pic.twitter.com/qek5j6MVSB
— Paul McCallion (@OrangePaulp) August 30, 2020
Widow later returned to Twitter to thank those who had reached out, saying: “I can feel the love and it’s giving me hope that things will be better.”
Sadly, this is far from the first time a Black Drag Race queen has been affected by bullying and online hate.
During All Stars 5 the show took the unprecedented step of warning fans they would be blocked for posting “hateful, racist comments” on Twitter, following years of complaints from queens targeted by harassment.
Jaida said in August that she doesn’t know a “single Black queen” who hasn’t suffered racism at the hands of so-called fans.
She later took part in a roundtable discussion with Monét X Change, Yvie Oddly, Heidi N Closet and Shea Couleé – representing five consecutive titles won by Black stars – on the topics of race and representation.
“Drag Race has birthed the stories of so many queer POC around America and around the world,” Monét said.
“Where the discrepancy comes is with the fanbase and how they treat us.”
She suggested that the problem stems partly from fans who don’t have friends who are people of colour, trans, Muslim, or anything other than white and cis.
“The onus is not on us to educate them on how to love us but on them to take it upon themselves to diversify… to have meaningful experiences with people who don’t look like them so that seeing us is not a token.”