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Shangela Accused of Rape by We’re Here Crew Member, Drag Performer Says Allegations Are ‘Totally Untrue’

Shangela Rape Accused We're Here HBO
Courtesy of HBO

Darius Jeremy Pierce, known to viewers of We’re Here and RuPaul’s Drag Race as the drag queen Shangela, has been accused of rape by a former crew member on the HBO series, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In a lawsuit McGarrigle filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the former production assistant claims that Pierce sexually assaulted him after a crew party in February 2020. Per McGarrigle, he and Pierce were in a Louisiana hotel room when Pierce allegedly overpowered him and had sex with him despite McGarrigle screaming “no” and trying to push him away.

In a statement to the Times, Pierce denied McGarrigle’s allegations, saying:

I can’t begin to explain how hurt and disgusted I am by these totally untrue allegations. They are personally offensive and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community… An external investigation into this embittered individual’s claims previously concluded that they were completely without merit. This newest filing is nothing but an attempt to shake down both me and a well-regarded television company. No one should be fooled: It has no basis in fact or in law, and it will not succeed. As a hardworking and outspoken drag entertainer for more than a decade, I know that I am far from alone in battling ignorance, bigotry and prejudice, all of which played a role in the filing of this complaint. That is why I will fight this entirely meritless lawsuit and not allow it to destroy me and those I love, or harm the causes we all stand for.

Buckingham Television, which produces We’re Here, also is named in the lawsuit. A representative for the show told the Times, “Buckingham Television, the production company for We’re Here, received a complaint late summer 2021 regarding an incident that was alleged to have occurred in early 2020. Buckingham and HBO take the safety and well-being of personnel on our shows very seriously, and Buckingham immediately launched an investigation. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations.”

TVLine has reached out to HBO for additional comment.

In the suit, McGarrigle reportedly says he did not report the alleged assault right away because he was afraid of losing his job, and that Pierce allegedly sexually harassed him until McGarrigle quit in 2021. He went to the show’s creators with his allegations in September 2021, and filed a report with the Ruston, La., Police Department in November 2022.

We’re Here stars Shangela and fellow former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara as they visit small towns in America, “spreading love and connection through the art of drag,” per the show’s official logline. The series, whose third season aired in late 2022, has won multiple Emmys and GLAAD Media Awards.

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