Drag Race stars subjected to ‘threats of violence’ in season four premiere of We’re Here

The We're Here cast had homophobic slurs hurled at them. (HBO)

RuPaul’s Drag Race stars were subjected to “threats of violence” in the premiere of season four of We’re Here.

We’re Here sees ex RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants visit US towns and cities to recruit locals to appear in one night only drag shows, with the aim of teaching their new “drag daughters” to step outside their comfort zone.

New cast members Sasha Velour (season 9), Jaida Essence Hall (season 12) and Priyanka (Canada’s Drag Race) sashay into Tennessee for the first episode of the new season of the HBO series.

The episode marked the We’re Here season 4 cast’s debut taking over from season one to three co-hosts Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka and Shangela, the latter is facing accusations of sexual assault.

The new cast headed up the conservative town of Shelbyville on 26 April’s episode, but their welcome was anything less than the Southern hospitality they deserved. One woman in a makeup store told the We’re Here season 4 cast she doesn’t like drag queens, while two other members of the public walked in the opposite direction when Velour asked if they wanted to attend a drag show.

But perhaps the most shocking moment in the episode came when Sasha and Priyanka were walking down the street when a passerby in a truck shouted at them. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Velour gestured to the vehicle and smiled, but a man yelled the homophobic slur “f***ot” towards her.

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“He did say ‘f***ot’. Thank you, I love that word,” Velour responds. In a later scene, the star addresses the interaction: “The fact that within 24 hours of being in Tennessee, we are called ‘f***ots’, feels like a warning, like a reminder to stay in your place. They don’t want you there, they don’t want to see you. There is a threat of violence that feels a little more palpable than maybe I’m used to.”

It’s a stark reminder that the trio are no longer in the supportive, pro-LGBTQ+ environment of Drag Race, fostered by RuPaul Charles and his slew of fervent supporter celebrity judges. In fact, the state proposed legislation in 2023 to ban public displays of drag and trans people’s right to occupy public spaces.

“Right now in the world, unfortunately, queer people, people of colour, trans people, and people who are different are being extremely targeted,” Essence Hall said at the start of the episode.