RuPaul’s Drag Race has disqualified Season 12 contestant Sherry Pie after multiple actors accused the drag queen of catfishing them.
Sherry Pie, whose legal name is Joey Gugliemelli, apologized after five actors alleged she had posed as a casting director to trick them into submitting embarrassing audition footage or, in some cases, meeting Gugliemelli in person.
“In light of recent developments and Sherry Pie’s statement, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a statement from VH1 reads. “Out of respect for the hard work of the other queens, VH1 will air the season as planned. Sherry will not appear in the grand finale scheduled to be filmed later this spring.”
Ben Shimkus, a 25-year-old actor whose Facebook post about his own experience with Gugliemelli first drew attention to Gugliemelli’s past, spoke with BuzzFeed about his interactions with the drag queen. A friend, who had apparently auditioned for another fake production of Gugliemelli’s, referred Shimkus to a female casting director named “Allison Mossie”—who it turns out was really Gugliemelli.
Shimkus and “Allison” exchanged dozens of emails about a part in a fake play called Bulk—which purportedly centered on a man named Jeff who uses steroids, BuzzFeed reports. Shimkus answered questions like “Why do you think Jeff stops using deodorant in the show?” and “Would you enjoy seeing and hearing the seams of your clothes stretch and even rip as you grow?” Shimkus submitted audition videos of himself talking about enjoying the smell of sweaty armpits.
Another actor, 23-year-old Josh Lillyman, thought Gugliemelli was an “auxiliary casting agent” for “Allison Mossie,” and met with him to film some audition footage, per BuzzFeed. Gugliemelli convinced him to masturbate in the bathroom, and then on camera. He later found out that his friend Landon Summers had worked with Gugliemelli to audition for the same part.
“I did everything he asked me to because at that point he had built up so much detail for the show that I was truly convinced it was real and associated with HBO,” Lillyman told BuzzFeed. “It took a lot for me to break that delusion. I was willingly doing all the things he was asking me to.”
“I just sort of buried it and said there’s nothing I can do about it,” Lillyman added of his experience with Gugliemelli. “It makes me almost tear up that this happened to so many people.”
BuzzFeed reports that just one minute before its story on the matter went live, Gugliemelli posted a statement to Facebook after ignoring requests for comment. Reps for VH1 later referred the outlet to the contestant’s statement.
“This is Joey,” the statement reads. “I want to start by saying how sorry I am that I caused such trauma and pain and how horribly embarrassed and disgusted I am with myself. I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel.”
“Until being on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant,” Gugliemelli wrote. “I learned on that show how important ‘loving yourself’ is and I don’t think I have ever loved myself. I have been seeking help and receiving treatment since coming back to NYC.”
“I truly apologize to everyone I have hurt with my actions,” the statement concludes. “I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company. All I can do is change the behavior and that starts with me and doing that work.”
This article has been updated.