Call this one “The Case of the Spilled T.”
A group of drag queens, including Pearl (real name Matthew James Lent), Shea Coulee (Jaren Merrell), The Vixen (Anthony Taylor), and Kim Chi (Sang-Young Shin) have fallen into a $5 million defamation lawsuit. All of the aforementioned queens have appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Three other defendants join the Drag Race alums: YouTube drag queen Jakeyoncé (Jacob Sandt), Shea Coulee’s boyfriend Dan Polyak, and drag performer Bible Girl (Zachary Gottlieb). The suit, filed in a Chicago court, alleges that the defendants made false claims about the plaintiff, a management company called Neverland Events and Artist Management, a company that specializes in repping LGBTQ entertainers, and which is queer-owned. The group of queens claims they were never paid for their performance gigs with Neverland and took their anger to social media to vent. For example, Shea Coulee alleges that Neverland owes them $12,000 in unpaid fees.
That venting led to the lawsuit, and the Cook County Court has, according to reports, already received dozens of social media posts as evidence in the case. Jakeyoncé published a video about Neverland, which may have provided some heavy fuel for the suit. In it, Jakeyoncé rages over the unpaid bills, making off-hand statements like “you don’t even represent any queens anymore” and “you’re boasting all the girls that have left you.”
None of the queens involved have yet to make an official statement regarding the lawsuit, which remains ongoing.
Note: this article was updated to include they/them pronouns for Shea Coulee, who identifies as non-binary.