Peppermint’s Traitors US elimination was ‘not a good look’, admits Alan Cumming

The Traitors US host Alan Cumming (left) and season two contestant and trans Drag Race star Peppermint (right)

The host of The Traitors US, Alan Cumming, has reflected on trans legend Peppermint being eliminated first in season two of the hit reality show.

While the UK version of the show features regular civilians, ranging from sweary, retired lesbians to Welsh daddies, the first season of the US show, which landed in 2023, added some star power to the mix by also casting American reality TV contestants.

Season two, which has just landed on BBC iPlayer, upped the ante by having only celebrities as Traitors or Faithfuls – including Drag Race finalist Peppermint.

Queer fans were devastated when she was banished – eliminated by popular vote – in the premiere and X-Men and Doctor Who star Cumming, who is gearing up to release the third season, has admitted to Entertainment Weekly (EW) that the only trans contestant getting the chop first was “not a good look”.

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

Speaking as EW’s 2024 Pride cover star, the bisexual actor said: “Peppermint [going] first, I think it was just by chance. But that was not a good look in the world we live in: that the first person to go out is a trans person of colour, and one of the only queer [contestants]… obviously, it shone a bigger spotlight on [the issue of representation].”

Being queer in itself is not a disadvantage on the show, but a higher proportion of LGBTQ+ contestants would help, he added.

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Peppermint, known for her role in RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, shared a heartfelt moment during The Traitors season two reunion, reflecting on her unexpected elimination. She expressed feeling “suddenly cast out” amidst a candid conversation with fellow contestants, highlighting the emotional toll of the competition. In her exchange with host Andy Cohen, Peppermint delved into the complexities of competitive dynamics, shedding light on biases that often marginalize those perceived as different. As the sole trans contestant, she drew from personal experiences, bravely recounting the challenges faced as an LGBTQ+ individual during her high school years. Her words underscored the critical need for authentic representation on television screens, particularly amidst rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. Peppermint passionately advocated for increased trans visibility, recognizing the profound impact of media in shaping societal attitudes. Her courageous stance serves as a reminder of the transformative power of authenticity and representation, sparking vital conversations about equity and inclusion in media. #PeppermintReflection #TheTraitorsReunion #LGBTQRepresentation #AuthenticVisibility #InclusionMatters

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“I don’t think they had a disadvantage, but it would be better if there were more [queer] people there, so it didn’t seem like they were token. We’ve just got to be more representative. Why can’t we have more people on these shows than actually are, percentage-wise, in society?

“Why are we being so shackled by our quotas? There should be trans and queer people everywhere, and people of colour everywhere, until people just shut up and stop being so stupid and hateful about it.”

The third season of The Traitors US is set to be the show’s queerest yet, something that Cumming had demanded.

“I think the reason [queer] people like The Traitors is because it’s the campiest thing since Christmas,” he said. “There’s me swanning around in a faux fur with a feather in my hair. But also, it is camp in that it is very heightened. And it’s also about people lying.

“Something about queerness is that you understand the concept of having to hide something about yourself, so that’s very similar to the experience of The Traitors. I actually lobbied quite hard to have more queer representation, in terms of the contestants next season.”

Cumming has achieved his goal with the recently announced cast for The Traitors US, season three – and while Peppermint isn’t making a return, her bestie and fellow Drag Race star Bob the Drag Queen is among the names announced recently.

Bob won season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race and will be joined by Selling Sunset‘s Chrishell Stause, the first openly gay member of the British monarchy Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a veritable flurry of Real Housewives, Britney Spears’ ex and a few Survivors to boot.

The Traitors and The Traitors US are both available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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