Sherry Pie victim explains why the disgraced Drag Race contestant ‘doesn’t deserve a national platform’

Ben Shimkus Sherry Pie drag race

After Sherry Pie was invited onto the Tamron Hall Show, one of his victims has spoken out.

Actor Ben Shimkus, who was the first victim to come out against Sherry Pie in 2020, said the disgraced Drag Race contestant “doesn’t deserve a national platform”.

Sherry, real name Joey Gugliemelli, was disqualified from Drag Race season 12 after five men accused him of catfishing them for explicit and “degrading” videos.

Shimkus wrote in a column for Out magazine that he questioned the “morality” of the Tamron Hall interview on “many levels”.

“Tamron Hall’s show didn’t initially reach out to any victims,” Shimkus said. “This means that whatever narrative was going to be presented was centred 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.”

The segment was “simply a regurgitation” of the disgraced Drag Race star’s initial apology, Shimkus said, noting that neither he nor any of the other victims accepted it the first time.

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, but the show decided to continue despite their requests.

After Shimkus’s 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”.

Shimkus argued Gugliemelli is “fully ready to monetise” his appearance on the Tamron Hall Show, noting that there appears to be a merchandise section on the Sherry Pie website “coming soon”, and that an “admitted abuser does not deserve a national platform”.

When Shimkus was a musical theatre student, he exchanged approximately 150 emails with a person he believed was an agent named Allison Mossey – but turned out to be Joey Gugliemelli (Sherry Pie).

As part of the audition process, ‘Mossey’ urged him 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.”

The experience caused Shimkus “massive emotional trauma” which brought him to the lowest point of his mental health.

Drag Race community stands in solidarity with Sherry Pie victims.

Ahead of the Sherry Pie interview on the Tamron Hall Show, a number of Drag Race queens and members of the LGBT+ community spoke in solidarity with the victims.

Detox wrote on Twitter that she thought the show “should have at least invited the victims on for a segment”. “It’s not too late,” she added.

Detox also said the hallmark of decent investigative journalism is to have “accounts from both sides”, but the Tamron Hall Show was seriously lacking.

Jackie Cox, who competed on Drag Race season 12, called on the show to reconsider its decision.

Gugliemelli began his interview by “admitting to my wrongdoings and horrible behaviour” and said he’s “prepared to take any responsibility” for his actions.

“I don’t know if more [victims] will come forward. I’m here to apologise, and I want to make that very clear,” he said.

“I understand now, in lieu of this year, how much pain I’ve caused. I just want to let the victims know, and everyone else know, that I am so sorry.”

PinkNews has contacted the Tamron Hall Show for comment.