Shangela Of ‘Drag Race’ And ‘We’re Here’ Denies Sexual Assault Allegations Amid Lawsuit: ‘No One Should Be Fooled’

Shangela Laquifa Wadley performing on stage
Shangela Laquifa Wadley performing on stage
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Shangela Laquifa Wadley, an alum of RuPaul’s Drag Race and one of the stars of HBO’s We’re Here, is breaking his silence regarding his former assistant’s new lawsuit against him alleging sexual misconduct in the workplace, specifically the allegation about rape.

The 41-year-old drag performer, born Darius Jeremy “DJ” Pierce, met his accuser, 39-year-old Daniel McGarrigle, while working on the first season of We’re Here, according to Entertainment Weekly. The award-winning show follows drag queens, including Pierce, as they visit small towns in an attempt to spread “love and connection through the art of drag.” McGarrigle’s employer, Buckingham Television, assigned him as Pierce’s assistant and driver for the duration of the show’s filming.

McGarrigle is now filing a lawsuit against the Dancing with the Stars finalist and Buckingham Television for the sexual misconduct he says he endured on the job. He alleges that Pierce asked him to come to a hotel room to help him pack for an upcoming flight before feeling unwell, crashing on the bed, and waking up to Pierce pouring “a cold liquid” drug known as “poppers” on his face while groping his private parts and trying to penetrate his “anus.”

Pierce has since slammed McGarrigle’s lawsuit in an exclusive statement provided to Entertainment Weekly. “They are personally offensive and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community,” part of Pierce’s statement read. “An external investigation into this embittered individual’s claims previously concluded that they were completely without merit. This newest filing is nothing but an attempt to shake down both me and a well-regarded television company. No one should be fooled: It has no basis in fact or in law, and it will not succeed.”

He continued, “As a hardworking and outspoken drag entertainer for more than a decade, I know that I am far from alone in battling ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice, all of which played a role in the filing of this complaint. That is why I will fight this entirely meritless lawsuit and not allow it to destroy me and those I love, or harm the causes we all stand for.”

Furthermore, Buckingham Television stands by the statement it provided to The Los Angeles Times ensuring that a proper investigation was completed at the time when the allegations were first reported.

“Buckingham Television received a complaint late summer 2021 regarding an incident that was alleged to have occurred in early 2020,” the company’s statement read. “Buckingham and HBO take the safety and well-being of personnel on our shows very seriously, and Buckingham immediately launched an investigation. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations.”

A trial date has not been set at this time.