After talk show host Tamron Hall interviewed disgraced drag queen Sherry Pie following the performer's disqualification from Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race after admitting to coercing several men into recording themselves performing lewd acts by posing as a casting director, one of Sherry Pie’s accusers, Ben Shimkus, has written a scathing letter slamming The Tamron Hall Show for giving his alleged abuser a platform.
Shimkus wrote in a column for Out Magazine that he questioned the “morality of Tamron Hall’s segment on many levels,” adding that “Tamron Hall’s show didn’t initially reach out to any victims,” he wrote. “This means that whatever narrative was going to be presented was centered around that of our perpetrator – one who has a platform of their own making with a well-followed social media profile and a press team.”
Shimkus had previously tweeted that he had spoken with producers from The Tamron Hall Show and told them the victims did not want the show to air a segment with Sherry Pie — real name Joey Gugliemelli — but the show decided to continue despite their requests.
After Shimkus’ tweet, he said a producer told him that the show didn’t reach out because “they didn’t think anyone would be comfortable coming forward.”
Several RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants spoke out, urging The Tamron Hall Show to reconsider airing the episode.
“I am publicly calling on @TamronHallShow to reconsider giving Sherry Pie access to the platform of national television to tell their side of the story without first speaking with the victims of her abuses and allowing them to weigh in on their own trauma,” fellow Season 12 contestant Jackie Cox wrote on Twitter.
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While fellow Drag Race alum, Detox tweeted, “I think @tamronhall & @TamronHallShow should have AT LEAST invited the victims on for a segment. It’s not too late,” adding “I love investigative journalism but it doesn’t work w/o accounts from both sides.”
Since the airing of the controversial segment. Shimkus tweeted out that he has received backlash for coming forward and telling her story.
“I warned the producers victims would receive these types of messages if they went forward with the story. It's coming true. Look at the rest of my twitter for more examples. This is your fault @TamronHallShow,” he wrote. “I didn't ask for this.”
Shimkus hopes that through his courageous actions in coming forward it can “be a turning point for how we handle these stories,” he said. “Let this be a moment that media outlets like The Tamron Hall Show and Wendy Williams recognize the immense privilege and responsibility of their massive platforms.”