RuPaul’s Drag Race star Pearl sparks outrage from fellow queens after dressing in blackface

Drag Race star Pearl faces backlash over blackface photos. (Getty)

Drag Race stars The Vixen and Silky Nutmeg Ganache have lambasted season seven finalist Pearl for posting a series of photos using blackface.

Caucasian Drag Race runner-up Pearl Liaison, whose real name is Matthew James Lent, has added yet another controversy to her list since first appearing on the drag reality competition series in 2015.

On Thursday (10 August), the queen sparked a backlash for sharing now-deleted photos of herself with skin darkened by brown foundation, inflated lips and long press-on nails. The look was completed with a hot-pink top, colourful tie-dye shorts and the caption: “Skipper’s all grown up now.”

Among the critics was Drag Race season 10 star, The Vixen, who tweeted her “private hurt” at Pearl’s behaviour.

“When people carelessly play with blackface, the public outrage overshadows the private hurt that we go through. These daily reminders that this world isn’t safe, welcoming or sensitive to our feelings is overwhelming,” she wrote.

Season 11 queen Ganache reposted the controversial photo, saying: “RuPaul should’ve just talked to her off camera ’cause now she mocking Ru in her younger years.”

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Ganache was referring to an incident between Pearl and RuPaul in the werk room during season seven filming where the Drag Race judge told the contestant: “Nothing you say matters unless that camera is rolling.” Pearl has not been invited back for an All Stars season.

On Thursday, Pearl posted a statement to her Instagram story explaining that the character was “not meant to resemble any background other than my own”.

She added: “She’s platinum blonde/blue eyes & meant to have 2000’s Britney-esque tan. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone and will refrain from using any kind of tan at all when creating characters in the future. I’ve removed the post [so] as to not continue to offend people.”

Pearl's official Instagram story statement. (Instagram/@pearlliasion)
Pearl’s official Instagram story statement. (Instagram/@pearlliasion)

However, fans across social media have shared their dismay at her behaviour and lack of awareness.

It’s not the first time a Drag Race star has come under fire for blackface.

In 2021, Scarlet Adams was held to account by Mama Ru herself after Aboriginal drag queen Felicia Foxx unearthed historic photos of the Drag Race Down Under contestant wearing culturally inappropriate costumes.

Adams made an apology, calling herself a “a dumb, ignorant teenager” who “regrets those decisions”.

And last year, Canada’s Drag Race contestant Rita Baga had to apologise for after claims resurfaced that she did blackface as Amber Riley from Glee.

Other Drag Race contestants who have faced similar criticism include Icesis Couture, Charlie Hides, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Karen from Finance.

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