For its ninth season, which premiered on Friday, March 24, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” moved from Logo to VH1. The premiere episode drew nearly one million viewers, making it the show’s most-watched telecast ever, as reported by Deadline. To celebrate the show’s move to VH1, the network has created “Fierce Friday,” a live viewing party, which airs right before the weekly broadcast, and it’s hosted by Wendy Williams and comedian Ross Mathews.
However, the news of Williams hosting the live viewing show has been met with criticism from some former “Drag Race” contestants and other members of the drag community. On Monday, New York-based drag performer Stephanie Stone took to social media to remind people of an incident that occurred during a taping of “The Wendy Williams Show” back in 2009.
At the time, Williams came under fire after drag queen Erick Atoure Aviance was told by producers she could not appear on camera or get up to ask Williams a question, or else she would be expelled from the audience, according to Advocate. “All I remember is when Wendy Williams had Erick Atoure Aviance removed from her studio audience for being in drag … now she’s doing the pre-show for ‘Drag Race,’ when are folks gonna realize not everyone’s your ‘friend of the community,’” Stone wrote on her Facebook page Monday.
Detox, a contestant on season five and on “All Stars” season two, shared Stone’s post on her Instagram account, adding: “THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!! This is why I say Wendy Williams should NOT be hosting the ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ viewing party on VH1. She is NOT an ally. She is transphobic. If anything, she is an ENEMY. An enemy profiting off of our community. Fuck. That. #ImpeachWendyWilliams ok fine. Just #FireWendyWilliams.” Michelle Visage, a “Drag Race” judge and co-host of RuPaul’s podcast, “What’s The Tee?,” weighed in on the matter by commenting “Yup” on Detox’s post.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” season two winner, Alaska Thunderfuck, reacted to the news of Williams hosting the live viewing show in a statement to the website Unicorn Booty:
“Frankly, I think the decision to make Wendy Williams one of the hosts of the weekly spots framing commercial breaks for ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’’s weekly broadcast is tone deaf, untimely and incorrect. I used to watch Wendy’s Hot Topics daily, and some of the things she said during Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition were beyond questionable… At that time, much of the nation was learning to navigate trans visibility for the first time and needed guidance and clarity from the media. But instead Wendy repeatedly spouted ignorance and transphobic rhetoric to a daily audience of millions. I don’t watch her show anymore. And I certainly don’t think she is the right person to be hosting our community’s flagship television program.”