Gay clubs issue grovelling apologies for allowing racist drag shows with queens in Blackface

Lily Wakefield March 22, 2021
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Gay clubs apologise for racist drag shows with queens in Blackface

Scarlet Adams in a promotional poster for RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under. (World of Wonder)

Two LGBT+ clubs in Perth, Australia, have issued apologies for hosting racist drag shows and queens in Blackface on their stages.

Earlier this month, Aboriginal drag queen Felicia Foxx shared a series of photos of Australian drag queens giving racist performances, making racist comments and wearing Blackface.

The photos showed RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under contestant Scarlet Adams in Blackface on more than one occasion, as well as in a Bollywood style outfit.

Dean Misdale was also shown in Blackface, Veronica Jones could be seen culturally appropriating Japanese clothing and makeup, and a screenshot of an Instagram post from Perri Prism showed the caption: “WHITE POWER (not in a racist way I’m just wearing all white).”

Over the last week, the queens involved have issued apologies for the racist behaviour, but now the venues that platformed them have also spoken out.

Top Perth gay bar The Court Hotel on Beaufort Street hosted a racist performance by Adams, and released a statement via Facebook, saying: “We acknowledge the historic images shared on social media of Scarlet Adams and other performers here at The Court have offended people.

“While we did not specify the content of the shows, we do take responsibility for allowing them to happen on our stage almost a decade ago and we unreservedly apologise for any offence caused by any performance at the venue that has not been culturally appropriate.

“These shows, quite simply, should not have happened.”

However, the venue said that it had “accepted” Adams’ apology, and was later forced to clarify: “The apology we accepted from Scarlet Adams was for her performing those acts on our stage, those acts were a misrepresentation of all the employees at The Court and should never have happened. We do however take responsibility for not stopping them when they occurred and we are truly sorry.

“We do not accept the apology on behalf of POC, that is their/your apology to accept, decline, or process however you choose. There is hurt and pain here and we can see that.

“We would also like to clarify that Scarlet Adams is not booked to perform here at The Court.”

Connections Nightclub, which also hosted a racist performance by Adams, apologised for “the use of Blackface and the mockery of the Aboriginal community” in drag shows.

It said: “We want to apologise to the community as we deconstruct these ugly parts of our past and recognise the historical institutionalised privilege that we carry at the expense of the BIPOC community.

“The use of Blackface and the mockery of the Aboriginal community and flag is abhorrent to us as a business and inclusive venue.

“While the individual involved was asked to leave and suspended from shifts, we must acknowledge that this took place in our venue and a person presenting in such a derogatory and offensive way should never have been allowed to cross our threshold.”

The venue also admitted that it needed to apologise for having run racist and culturally insensitive theme nights at the club.

It added: “We also need to reflect on a series of events where we used the traditional dress, make up and garments of several cultures that were not our own.

“These included, among others; the cultures, nationalities and minorities of China, India, Japan and Korea.

“These were as inappropriate then as at any other time and we never want to use other people’s culture or identity as a ‘theme’.”

Foxx, who originally shared the photos of racist performances by Australian drag queens, wrote in her original post: “I deeply feel for every single culture that is disrespected in these pictures.

“It makes me sick to my core to see numerous people in the LGBT+ community who are profiting off of making a mockery and disrespecting peoples cultures… It makes me furious seeing my culture being dismantled, disregarded and s**t on.”

She added: “Being a proud, Aboriginal and gay man it’s only right I bring it to everyone’s attention that racism is very much alive on the queer scene.”

More: Australia, blackface, racism, RuPaul's Drag Race

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