Former Drag Race Star Pearl Speaks Out About “Scary” Fan Behavior

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A beloved RuPaul’s Drag Race queen opened up about why she has been out of the spotlight and away from “gay fame” after experiencing maltreatment from the show’s fandom.

“I’m actually traumatized from traveling/gay fame,” Pearl, who competed on the show’s seventh season and made it to the top three, shared in an Instagram post on Saturday. “tbh i’ve realized there’s something about me that like triggers people. it’s led to a lot of scary and unpredictable behavior that idk how to navigate.”

Pearl went on to talk about some of the behavior she experienced, which included being groped, being robbed, people trying to pull her wig off, other physical altercations, and stalking. She also said that the behavior often came from fellow queens, who would “act like they have no idea who I am,” as well as handlers who have sexually harassed her and managers who have treated her badly.

She went on to detail specific ways people have spoken about her online that have been uncomfortable. “There’s an endless barrage of lies and vitriol about me online, ppl leak private photos, criticize every inch of my body and seem to like want me d3ad,” Pearl wrote. “it’s kinda turned me into a mistrusting and isolating person, soo i’ve had to ask myself maybe this isn’t for me lol?”

Pearl then went on to say that she specifically wishes that she could take back her infamous Hey Qween! Interview. In 2018, Pearl appeared on the popular talk show and discussed her time on the show and told host Johnny Mcgovern that an early interaction with RuPaul did not go well.

“I turned to RuPaul and said, ‘Oh my god, thank you so much. It’s such [an] honor to be here, such a pleasure to meet you, you have no idea.’ Just giving her everything I ever wanted to say to her,” she said. She continued, “She turned to me and she said: ‘Nothing you say matters unless that camera is rolling.'”

Pearl said that the fanbase “thrives on drama” and took that interview and that quote too far.

“That headline was sensationalized to the point it became my identity,” she said. “ppl say i have this persona spilling tea when in reality it was like once. i’ve learned the hard way sharing information like that doesn’t benefit anyone except the publication. i’m literally stupid for not knowing that.”

The Drag Race fandom has a reputation for being particularly terrible, especially toward queens of color. The same year as Pearl’s interview, season 10 finalist Asia O’Hara posted a note to Instagram saying that fans had threatened to burn her alive because she is Black. All Stars 5 winner Shea Coulée had her Instagram hacked, and All Stars 4 contestant Latrice Royale was attacked for eliminating beloved queen Valentina.

Many people supported Pearl in the comments.

“I'll never understand the full scope of what you have been through, as of course you’ve been in the ring longer than me…but i can relate to several sentiments,” wrote season 15 queen Salina EsTitties. “I just wish i could give you a hug.”

The fandom doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or becoming kinder; just this season, contestant Q deleted their X, formerly known as Twitter, account after receiving hate messages and backlash for a challenge win that fans believe she didn't’ deserve.

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