Why The 'RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under' Dialogue About Blackface Was Met With A Cold Reception By Fans
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Why The 'RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under' Dialogue About Blackface Was Met With A Cold Reception By Fans

RuPaul's Drag Race may be leading the pack in Critics Choice Real TV Awards nominations, but fans are angry at one of the show's international spinoffs for choosing to essentially yignore a drag queen's past racist behavior.

During the inaugural season of Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul confronts drag queen contestant Scarlet Adams about her past performances that have utilized blackface. According to PinkNews, Adams said she couldn't deny her prior actions, adding, "As a dumb, ignorant teenager I made some mistakes that I'm really not proud of, and every day I regret those decisions."

"I regret the fact that I used my platform as a performer to ridicule people who've faced systematic racism for hundreds of years," she continued. "I'm so ashamed of the person that I once was. I'm really sorry to you and to everyone that I have hurt."

RuPaul responded saying she wouldn't "cancel" Adams for her past actions.

"I'm sure there are people that would want me to cancel you right here, right now," she said. "But I'd rather this be a lesson in humility and accountability, and I pray that all of us can learn and grow from our mistakes."

The fans, though, are calling RuPaul out for having double standards. After the Down Under episode premiered on Wow Presents Plus, fans wrote on Twitter how RuPaul seemed angrier at other instances throughout the Drag Race franchise than when confronted with a contest admitting to doing blackface.

One of the instances fans brought up was when Joe Black, a contestant on the second season of Drag Race UK, wore an H&M dress on the runway, leading to RuPaul having an outburst about queens wearing off-the-rack items, saying she didn't "want to see any f--king H&M." At the time of the outburst, fans wrote online how RuPaul's anger seemed misplaced since the season and its queens were severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with filming shutting down for months before restarting. The shutdown, and subsequent shutdown of clubs and other performance venues where drag performers work, could have potentially left some queens without the financial ability to get custom-made garments for the rest of the season.

Another instance is The Vixen's confrontation with RuPaul during the Season 10 reunion episode during RuPaul's Drag Race. The Vixen had brought to light several instances of racism or bias during the season, and during a heated conversation with RuPaul about the racial bias she felt she endured, RuPaul lectured her about how to handle certain situations.

In seasons prior, drag queen Willam was eliminated from the show for allegedly bringing her boyfriend to her hotel room, which was against show rules since the queens are supposed to be sequestered from outside influences. However, fans felt RuPaul was more lenient toward's Scarlet than she was toward Willam breaking set rules.

PinkNews also points out that, as fans of the franchise have also said, Adams has only recently stopped doing blackface and other offensive forms of entertainment. The outlet reports that an Aboriginal drag queen named Felicia Fox posted several photos of Adams in blackface on Instagram, showing that Adams was performing in blackface as late as 2012. Also, while Adams states her offensive performances were from years ago, fans allege the drag queen used blackface and did other offensive routines after 2012.

Fans also chided RuPaul and the Down Under production team for not bringing up Karen from Finance's racist blunder at the same time as Adams.' The Down Under contestant was in hot water for having a golliwog tattoo as well as a collection of golliwog dolls. Karen from Finance has since covered up the tattoo and has given away her doll collection. She has also issued an apology on social media about tying herself to offensive imagery such as the golliwog character.