Drag Race UK sparks furious backlash as Boy George named guest judge despite problematic past

Boy George will appear as a celebrity guest judge in Drag Race UK season 4.

The BBC has been accused of an “appalling lack of judgement” for casting Boy George on the new season of Drag Race UK.

Boy George, aka George O’Dowd, will serve as a guest judge on the new season of Drag Race UK, the BBC announced Wednesday (31 August).

Many were shocked by the news, given his hugely problematic past.

In 2009, Boy George was given a 15 month jail sentence for falsely imprisoning a male escort, handcuffing him to a wall and beating him with a metal chain.

In recent years the Culture Club singer has also been accused of transphobia – allegations he has denied – after calling the disclosing of pronouns “a modern form of attention seeking”.

A sex worker known as T6X87 spoke about his disappointment at decision to cast Boy George on Drag Race UK.

“During the trial his lawyer sought to paint him as the victim, for example pointing out the conviction would mean he would lose out on income from being able to perform in the US and Japan,” he told PinkNews.

“For the BBC to again give Boy George a platform on a light entertainment show demonstrates an appalling lack of judgment and shows that sexual violence is not taken seriously – perhaps the rules are different if the victim is a gay man and a sex worker?”
Drag Race UK is made by World of Wonder, which also makes the US show, and is commissioned by the BBC.

Many fans agreed. One wrote on Twitter: Boy George was jailed for chaining a sex worker to a radiator and beating him. I’m amazed anyone would want to be in the same room as him, let alone appear on an entertainment show with him.”

Another agreed: “He’s an awful person I can’t understand why he keeps getting booked.”

‘I’m ashamed and sorry’

After gaining an early release from prison after four months, Boy George continued his lucrative career, including becoming a judge on The Voice (also on the BBC) and continuing to release music.

After years of criticism for his apparent lack of contrition, Boy George finally said he was sorry for his crime in 2017 during an appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.

“It’s terrible what I did, and I’m ashamed and sorry for what I did. It was wrong,” he said.

“I thought if I talked about it, it would make it worse.”

PinkNews has contacted Boy George and World of Wonder for comment. The BBC declined to comment.