Following controversy surrounding anti-LGBTQ comments, TV host Wendy Williams is facing backlash yet again after discussing catfish victim Ben Shimkus on her show.
Shimkus was catfished by RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 contestant Sherry Pie while in college. He opened up about the experience on social media, revealing that Sherry Pie, whose real name is Joey Gugliemelli, had forced many people, including Shimkus, to perform sexual acts on camera under the guise of auditioning for a casting agent.
I have a weird story to tell about Sherry PieRuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 started last week. It is an exciting time in…
Gugliemelli has since admitted the allegations were true and been disqualified from winning the show or attending the finale. VH1 and World of Wonder have also donated $5,000 to The Trevor Project in light of the news.
Wendy Williams and comedian and personality Michael Yo discussed the situation in a segment of The Wendy Williams Show called ‘Inside Scoop.’
“So, this Ben guy said that Sherry Pie catfished him, said she was a casting director, would send emails to him, back and forth, getting him to do lewd things…like masturbating on audition tapes,” Yo said. “Is that lewd enough for you?”
“I mean, why didn’t these people do research?” Yo asked about the victims. “I’m not blaming them, but they’re young, the guys are young—they’re 23, 24 years old, trying to get their big break…you have to do the research.”
Williams and Yo also joked about the name of one of Gugliemelli’s fake movies, “Bulk.”
Shimkus addressed the segment in an article written for GayCities, saying the two “made a joke” about his decision to come forward.
“When I watched this video clip of Michael Yo getting an audience to laugh at my story, I immediately became angry,” Shimkus said. “With time to reflect, I am attempting to maintain moral integrity while not becoming bitter about this situation that has put me on national television…We have a lot of work to do to advance our conversations around how we treat people who speak out against sexual harassment and coercion.”
Many reacted to Shimkus’ article demanding Williams’ show be canceled.
Ok, how many times is @wendywilliams allowed to be a terrible person before we stop her??? This kind of victim humiliation and shaming has to stop and Wendy has clearly proven she is NOT a friend to the LGBTQ community. #cancelwendywilliams https://t.co/BjVPGbdkl1
— Caskey Hunsader (@caskeyhunsader) March 15, 2020
Cancel @WendyWilliams now, she has proven over and over again that she no longer deserves the platform she's been so privileged to have enjoyed these past several years. #cancelwendywilliams #Fox #Lionsgate
— Brad Shearer (@Ekomancer1) March 13, 2020