'RuPaul's Drag Race' contestant Sherry Pie disqualified over catfishing allegations

Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
·3 min read

The race for one "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant is over before it even began.

The Emmy award-winning competition show announced on Twitter Friday that Sherry Pie, whose real name is Joey Gugliemelli, has been disqualified following multiple catfishing allegations.

"In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race," reads a statement posted on the show's official Twitter account. "Out of respect for the hard work of the other queens, VH1 will air the season as planned. Sherry will not appear in the grand finale scheduled to be filmed later this spring."

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Ahead of Sherry Pie’s debut on Season 12 Friday, aspiring actor Ben Shimkus accused Sherry Pie of posing as a casting director named Allison Mossey to coax him into submitting a fake audition tape with exploitative material.

Shimkus – who studied musical theatre with Sherry Pie at State University of New York College at Cortland – claims he submitted a tape to Mossey in pursuit of a supposed role at Playwright’s Horizons in New York City. He received Mossey's information from a mutual friend.

Sherry Pie attends 'RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12' meet the queens at TRL Studios on February 26, 2020 in New York City.
Sherry Pie attends 'RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12' meet the queens at TRL Studios on February 26, 2020 in New York City.

"I had to film scenes that felt particularly sexual and awkward, but the opportunity seemed too good to let the overt sexual nature or my inhibitions get in the way," Shimkus wrote on Facebook Wednesday. "I simply told myself that my parents wouldn’t be allowed to see the show, but I wanted the professional experience and the bright and shiny object on my resume."

After being ignored by Mossey after submitting the video, Shimkus reached out to Playwright's Horizons directly and the company said they had never heard of Mossey.

"I reached out to the friend who originally got this email contact. He too was in a callback for a different show with the same woman… I also asked where he had gotten the contact from. It was from Sherry Pie, who was adamant about her friendship with Allison," Shimkus wrote.

Shimkus added: "I had to cope with the fact that these videos I had sent of myself were not for the benefit of my career…It was a tough pill to swallow, knowing that I hadn’t listened to my gut instinct about how uncomfortable I was. That I had sent suggestive videos of myself, and I didn’t know what the videos were being used for."

A Buzzfeed News report published Thursday revealed at least five actors with similar accounts about Sherry Pie.

Sherry Pie appeared to confirm the allegations by issuing an apology on Facebook for causing "such trauma and pain."

"I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel," Sherry Pie wrote. "Until being on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant. I learned on that show how important “loving yourself” is and I don’t think I have ever loved myself.

"I have been seeking help and receiving treatment since coming back to NYC. I truly apologize to everyone I have hurt with my actions. I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company. All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work."

"RuPaul's Drag Race" airs Friday on VH1.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' contestant booted over catfishing allegations