For the first time since being disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race in March 2020, disgraced performer Sherry Pie (the stage name of Joey Gugliemelli) sat down for a live televised interview on Tuesday’s Tamron Hall Show.
Before we jump in, here’s some background: Gugliemelli competed in the 12th season of VH1’s popular reality competition series, but a series of sexual misconduct allegations were brought against him just hours before his first episode was set to air, prompting producers to edit him out of the season and disqualify him from the competition. Up to a dozen men have now come forward with claims that Gugliemelli — posing as a fake casting director named Allison Mossie — tricked them into sending money and degrading photographs under the guise of being considered for roles on stage and screen.
Hall began Tuesday’s episode by addressing the social media backlash she’s been receiving for planning this conversation. “The very idea that I’d have Sherry Pie on … was seen by some as giving away my platform,” Hall said to the camera. “I’ve been a reporter for 30 years. I’ve interviewed rapists, I’ve interviewed murderers, I remember interviewing a woman in prison who murdered a child she was trusted to care for. It’s not giving away your platform. It’s called an interview, and people who do bad things are interviewed. R. Kelly comes to mind. That’s just one person I’m thinking who was recently interviewed on multiple platforms and shared all over social media.”
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After insisting that she doesn’t give “free passes,” Hall welcomed Gugliemelli into the studio remotely. Watch part of the interview below:
“I first want to say that there are no ‘allegations,'” Gugliemelli began. “I admit to my wrongdoings and horrible behavior. I don’t know if … more [victims] will come forward. I’m here to apologize, and I want to make that very clear. 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. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and the trauma that I’ve caused. That’s really all I have to say.” (And, truly, he didn’t have much else to say.)
Gugliemelli explained that he’s been “doing cognitive behavioral therapy” ever since his disqualification and has been in contact with three of his victims. “Two of them I still speak to,” he said. “One of them asked me to no longer contact them, and I totally understand that.” Gugliemelli explained that some of his victims were very close friends, and that he “wanted to be able to keep them around and keep them close.”
As for potential criminal charges, Gugliemelli is “prepared to take any responsibility,” though he’s only been contacted by authorities for a welfare check thus far.
Towards the end of the end of the interview, Gugliemelli revealed that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder around the time of his disqualification, adding, “I don’t blame my mental illness for anything I’ve done.” He also made vague allusions to his childhood, which included a “deplorable” father and a stepfather with whom he still has a bad relationship.
Jackie Cox, a drag queen who competed against Sherry Pie in Season 12, was among those who challenged the interview, posting this four-part tweet ahead of the broadcast:
I am publicly calling on @TamronHallShow to reconsider giving Sherry Pie access to the platform of national television to tell their side of the story without first speaking with the victims of her abuses and allowing them to weigh in on their own trauma. (1/4)
— Jackie Cox (@JackieCoxNYC) February 15, 2021
Ben Shimkus, one of Gugliemelli’s many victims, also made it clear that the group’s efforts to get the interview canceled were ignored:
Just so we are all clear on this, I spoke with producers at @TamronHallShow and told them that I and the 20 victims that I spoke to today DO NOT want them to air a segment with Sherry Pie. They're going to air it despite the all of our requests.
— Ben Shimkus (@BenShimkus) February 15, 2021
Your thoughts on Hall’s sit-down with Sherry Pie? drop them in a comment below.