‘Drag Race’ Star Shangela Accused of Multiple Sexual Assaults

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Five members of the LGBTQ community are leveling accusations of sexual assault or coercion against drag performer Shangela, who settled a previous rape case that allegedly took place on the set of an HBO series through mediation in February.

In a Rolling Stone article published on Monday, the five accusers recount incidents in which Darius Jeremy Pierce, the man behind the drag persona Shangela, who appeared in season two of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and HBO’s drag-centric show, We’re Here, allegedly assaulted individuals or attempted to get them inebriated beyond the ability to give consent. All five told the magazine that they came forward after HBO production assistant Daniel McGarrigle filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Pierce of drugging and raping him after a 2020 wrap party; the case was settled in mediation after a judge tossed two of the charges. Pierce vehemently denied the allegation, saying it “has no basis in fact or in law.”

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Many of the new accusations against Pierce in Rolling Stone‘s story have details similar to McGarrigle’s and to one another — nearly all of the accounts involve Pierce allegedly buying or providing alcohol to the young men, who ranged in age from 18 to 23 at the time they say the assaults occurred; several recollections include the men waking up in Pierce’s bed in a dazed and confused state and there are multiple accounts of a third man being present in the room.

One of Pierce’s accusers, a 27-year-old named Helmer, decided to file a police report in Los Angeles in 2023 regarding the alleged assault. Helmer says he was 20 when he met Pierce in Los Angeles in 2017 and recalls “waking up completely naked on a bed and believed to be at Pierce’s residence” after the two met for dinner and the drag star bought him a mojito.

“[Helmer] asked Pierce what happened last night and why he was naked,” the complaint read, according to the report. “Pierce responded with, ‘We had sex, and there was another guy involved that you brought in.’ [Helmer] asked who that other guy was, and Pierce stated he did not know, ‘but you were really into it.’”

Refuting these claims, an attorney representing Pierce told the magazine that the two had consensual sex with a third man they’d met at a bar. He also denied claims from a second accuser, Edward Ramirez claimed the performer shoved him to the floor in a closet when he was 21 years old in 2018 and attempted to penetrate him. Brettler told Rolling Stone that three people could “attest that Mr. Pierce and Mr. Ramirez were never alone together”

Another accuser, Zein Checri told the magazine he was 18 in 2017 when he met Pierce in London. After having drinks Pierce provided, he found himself in Pierce’s bed, having vomited; he said that he was not “in control of anything that was going on.” Pierce’s attorney said that he and Checri were not intimate, but they did consume alcohol, and he’d gone to his client’s apartment.

An accuser named Zachary says he met Piece in New Orleans in 2015 then “blacked out” after a night of drinking and woke up to Pierce and a third man. “I heard Shangela say, ‘Stick it in him,’ and I quickly said ‘No,'” Zachary recalled to Rolling Stone. He said that he passed out again after. Pierce’s attorney told Rolling Stone Zachary “engaged in consensual sexual acts before falling asleep” that night.

Pierce is denying ever having met RoyLee Soliz, a fifth accuser who claims, in 2012, after being given drinks, he fell asleep but woke up to the performer he had “looked up to” attempting to place his penis inside his mouth. In a denial via his lawyer, Pierce said he has “no recollection of meeting RoyLee Soliz,” and has never had “nonconsensual sex of any kind with them, or anyone else.”

According to the report, several of the accusers who came forward with allegations against Pierce were hesitant to do so, as it could create a blow to the drag community. As the once underground scene has moved into the mainstream, with shows like Drag Race and We’re Here finding a wider audience, family-friendly events like drag brunches and story hours have been targeted by right-wing action groups. Speaking with the magazine, Checri said that he feels that “it is a big relief that, finally, this conversation is starting to happen.”

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