#MeToo

We investigated the sexual misconduct of Sherry Pie. What we found was a decade of lies & video.

Following allegations and of fraud and sexual misconduct against RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Sherry Pie—real name Joey Gugliemelli, 27—as well as his apparent admission of guilt and subsequent disqualification from the reality show competition, questions remain as to how long and how widespread Gugliemelli’s con game reached. Queerty launched its own investigation after initial allegations were made by actor Ben Shimkus that Gugliemelli had posed as a casting director in order to trick the actor into performing a sexually suggestive monologue.

In the post-#MeToo era, and with showbiz types from Les Moonves to Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Roger Allies all outed for their sexual misdeeds, victims have found new courage to come forward and name their assailants. Shimkus and his fellow accusers join those brave ranks, and illustrate another point that often goes overlooked in the #MeToo era: men too can be the victims of harassment.

Within 48 hours of Shimkus’ initial Facebook post, Queerty talked with nine men, all young, aspiring actors, all romantically unavailable, and all with similar claims. Each provided emails to back up their claims: Guliemelli, posing as a casting director named Allison Mossie, had contacted them about auditioning for a high-profile project. The role would require nudity, sexual situations and weight gain, and each man would have to provide a video audition for the part. Our investigation uncovered evidence that Guliemelli scammed dozens of men over the past decade.

Queerty began by contacting Shimkus, the New York-based actor who published his account via Facebook. That post has already garnered more than 1000 comments, and prompted other accusers to go public.

Ben Shimkus

Ben

For Shimkus, the story began in 2012 when he attended the State University of New York College at Cortland. He met Gugliemelli at age 18 as a college freshman and when Gugliemelli was a junior. The two performed in more than 15 shows together, and Shimkus even worked as a back-up dancer during a Sherry Pie drag performance. At one point, Shimkus even had a long-term relationship with Gugliemelli’s roommate.

Three years into their acquaintance, in Fall 2015, Gugliemelli approached Shimkus about a new acting opportunity.

“Joey and I weren’t necessarily good friends, by any means. But we had known each other a long time,” Shimkus told us. He also added that Gugliemelli had earned buzz around Cortland as a star on the rise, both for his work as a drag performer, and as an actor. Shimkus also added that despite his success, Gugliemelli also had a reputation for being unreliable.

“Joey was a compulsive liar,” Shimkus says. “He would gloat about working at theatres that he didn’t actually work at, or having taken master classes with people that he hadn’t. It was so common for him to lie about things, that it became water off a duck’s back.”

Still, because of their friendship, Shimkus listened when Gugliemelli suggested he audition for a new theatre piece getting the workshop treatment at Playwright’s Horizons, a theatre in New York. The show, titled Bulk, focused on a megalomaniacal bodybuilder named Jeff, obsessed with his own body. HBO was already eyeing the project as a potential series. Gugliemelli suggested Shimkus contact Allison Mossie, a casting director based out of New York City, via email.

Ben Shimkus & Joey Gugliemelli in ‘The Addams Family’

“I had heard through my friend that Joey had met Allison at a theatre he was working at, I believe, in New Hampshire over the summer,” Shimkus says. “They’d become close and started working together on projects. “Because my friend was involved, I blindly trusted.”

Shimkus emailed his headshot and resume to Mossie and received an immediate response. The two discussed the role and the schedule for the show, which would begin before the end of the fall semester. Mossie said the director and writer of Bulk had expressed great interest in Shimkus for the lead, calling his answers “smart” and “thoughtful.” Mossie sent Shimkus a set of audition monologues (commonly called “sides” within the industry), and asked him to tape an audition. She also warned Shimkus that the role would require nudity and sexual situations.

At once, Shimkus felt nervous about the monologues. “What was odd was the nature of what I was talking about: how I loved gaining power, how my armpits begin to stink, how I love taking steroids and gaining size,” he says. He noted a number of typos in the sides, and that it came in a Word document rather than a standard PDF file. Nevertheless, he agreed to send in a self-tape audition for the show.

Mossie responded with the direction to go “bigger” with the role. Shimkus sent another tape. Then another, then another. In total, he provided six or seven auditions over a three week period, including one video of him performing shirtless. Then Mossie’s emails became suddenly sporadic. He began to grow frustrated: landing the part in Bulk would require him to take his finals and leave school early in the winter. Shimkus needed to plan ahead, and confronted Mossie with his concerns.

“She had excuses,” he told us. “A last-minute call. ‘I had no WiFi.’” The excuses prompted Shimkus to question Mossie’s legitimacy. “I mean, you work in the premiere theatre in New York City and you don’t have WiFi? There are like five Starbucks around. That’s when I contacted Playwright’s Horizons.”

Playwright’s Horizons had no record of a show called Bulk, or associations with Allison Mossie. “When I found out it wasn’t a Playwright’s Horizons official [production], immediately I knew it was Joey. There was no doubt in my mind.”

Rather than confront Gugliemelli about the hoax, Shimkus went to school administrators. They did nothing. He also consulted with lawyers, who said that the evidence he provided—emails, text messages, the audition monologues—would not constitute enough evidence to convict Gugliemelli of a crime.

Dejected, Shimkus decided to remain silent, even when he landed a theatre job appearing opposite Guliemelli that summer. “I never confronted Joey about it,” Shimkus admits. “At the time, it was my second or third professional contract, so I didn’t want to ruin my professional outlook in that way.”

For five years, Shimkus would seldom speak of his exploitation by Gugliemelli. Little did he know, he wasn’t alone.

David Newman

David

David Newman also met Joey Gugliemelli at Cortland his freshman year in 2011, when he was 18 and Gugliemelli was a 20-year-old junior. Newman found him alluring and knew of his success as an actor and drag queen, but nevertheless found Gugliemelli’s behavior erratic. He also corroborates what Shimkus observed about Gugliemelli: that he had a penchant for lies.

“I heard that from upperclassman when I got to Cortland: he’s a pathological liar,” Newman says. “In person he gave off this feeling of you can trust me. That wasn’t true. He’d go behind your back and totally sh*t on you. And you wouldn’t know it. Joey would say ‘I don’t like this person because he said this…’ and it would just totally not be true. Lying about sleeping with all these straight guy athletes at Cortland—maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But he said it all the time. I don’t know what I was trying to do.”

Newman, who identifies as straight, also says Gugliemelli would try to hit on him. “He used to try to get me to sleepover at his house,” Newman recalls. “I’d always say no, I’m going back to my house. I didn’t want to sleep there. It wasn’t very subtle that he was attracted to me and wanted me to flip sides.” For that reason, Newman always tried to keep his distance. Still, he says he had faith in Gugliemelli as a performer. “I always knew Joey was going to have a successful career,” Newman admits. “He can paint his face and look like whatever he wants. I mean this so genuinely: he’s a really funny dude. He’s hysterical.”

Gugliemelli managed to capture Newman’s attention when he offered to put Newman in contact with Allison Mossie, who was casting a new project. The allure of a starring role in a new play managed to eclipse Newman’s dislike of Gugliemelli.

“You have to remember: I was a freshman,” Newman says. “All I wanted was to get paid to do shows.”

David Newman in 2012. Photo by Total City Girl

Like Shimkus, Newman sent Mossie a query email with his headshot and resume. And like Shimkus, Mossie responded with audition monologues for Bulk. She also suggested Newman rehearse with Gugliemelli, who would serve as Mossie’s casting associate on the project. Newman sent several audition tapes dressed in only a tank top and shorts to Mossie. Mossie would always respond, asking Newman to do more work with Guliemelli.

“We started to have these really weird one-on-one meetings where he’d be ‘coaching’ me to play this part,” Newman recounts. “The character—I think he was a wrestler—and he was obsessed with getting bigger and bigger. He gave me these monologues that were really not well written at all. It was just the main character saying over and over ‘I need to be bigger. I need to be stronger. Do you smell me? I smell great!’”

To Newman, the writing was less than Shakespearean. “I didn’t think it was a monologue in the play, it was more what the character would say throughout the play. It was awful,” he says. Still, he didn’t share his criticisms with Mossie or Gugliemelli. “What are you supposed to say? It’s a sh*tty monologue? The playwright sucks? You’re not going to say that.”

The bizarre nature of the monologues, coupled with Gugliemelli’s behavior, eventually prompted Newman to lose interest. “I didn’t like Joey much,” Newman confesses. “He was kind of condescending and rude. He also admitted he’d offered this to someone else. He was also in the theatre program, a junior at the time.” Repulsed by the character and Gugliemelli alike, Newman bailed on the audition.

Related: BREAKING: “Drag Race” disqualifies Sherry Pie over catfishing scandal

Newman thought he’d finished with Mossie. Then, almost four years later, in June 2015, he got an email from the casting director. She claimed to be hard at work on a stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Mossie wanted Newman to audition for the plum role of Oogie Boogie, the villain of the piece. The show would get workshopped at Playwright’s Horizons before a possible Broadway run. Mossie provided monologues, and asked for audition tapes. Newman complied.

Several months later, however, Newman’s blood ran cold when he learned Gugliemelli had approached a friend, a bodybuilder, about auditioning for Bulk. The two compared notes, and realized Gulgliemelli was behind the whole thing. He cut off contact with Mossie & Gugliemelli, furious with himself.

“He never apologized,” Newman says of Gugliemelli, his voice teeming with anger. “I haven’t seen him or talked to him since that time.”

He pauses a moment, then adds: “My heart is racing telling you about this. It’s good to get it out there.”

Joey Gugliemelli. Via YouTube

Cutthroat Industry

To those unfamiliar with the entertainment industry and its practices, bizarre monologues rife with typographical errors, repeated requests for audition tapes in various stages of undress and flaky casting associates may seem like an alarm bell heralding a hoax. Yet, in the age of worldwide casting calls, internet leaks and graphic sex on TV, strange auditions and a lack of information have become the norm. Moreover, actors often feel prompted to extremity in auditions in an attempt to show commitment to a role and distinguish themselves from the competition.

“You look at a lot of the different situations in film and TV and theatre, and auditions will reflect that material,” says Mike Page, the co-head of Day & Page Casting, and a casting director with more than a decade of experience. His TV credits include Animal Kingdom, Snowpiercer and Weeds. “If it is a role that requires an actor to take off his shirt, that’s not uncommon to ask in an audition.” He also attests to the extremes some actors will go to in order to win a role. “I got choked at an audition to the point of passing out,” he says of an experience auditioning an actor for Arrow. “We see strange things all the time.”

Ryan Jay Slater, who has worked as both an actor and casting associate with his mother, casting icon Mary Jo Slater, admits to having to undress in various auditions, or being forced to change into a screen test costume in a crowded room. He also says auditions will often provide poorly written monologues in order to protect the security of a project. Once, he even admits to getting an audition monologue so riddled with typos, he felt a need to make edits. “I came in with tons of grammar corrections all over their script and offered it to the writer/producer,” he told us. “It didn’t turn out well.” Slater went on to tell us about another audition for a film titled Red Cup, where the scene required him to argue with another character about tickets to a baseball game. Only later did he learn the true nature of the project.

“Apparently I auditioned for Han Solo,” he says.

Josh Lillyman

Josh

Wild auditions, method acting and cutthroat competition have become the stuff of Hollywood lore, the kind of romantic mythologizing that calls young actors to the excitement of show business. Australia-born Josh Lillyman felt that magnetism when he landed his first roles at the Crane River Theatre in Karney, Nebraska back in 2017. He was only 19 years old at the time.

“I was an extremely new actor. I’d just started doing theatre,” Lillyman recalled to us. That summer, Crane River Theatre had hired him to perform in two shows, The Little Mermaid and Hairspray. Joey Gugliemelli also landed roles in the productions.

Lillyman went on to recall the emotional reward of performing at Crane River, of bonding with his fellow castmates, of his hopes for a future in the arts. Throughout, his voice quaked with emotion, both nostalgic and furious. He knew of Gugliemelli’s success as a performer, and came to look at him as something of a mentor. “It seemed like he wanted the best for me,” Lillyman mourned.

As the company closed out its production of The Little Mermaid, Gugliemelli pulled Lillyman aside. “You’re exactly what I need for a show with a casting agent in New York.”

Lillyman jumped at the chance and immediately began working with Gugliemelli on auditions for Bulk. He provided Lillyman with the name Allison Mossie, various script pages, monologues, even concept art for the show. He sent his headshot and resume to Mossie, and right away began rehearsing with Gugliemelli.

For the next two months, Lillyman poured his heart and soul into auditioning, prepping tape after tape and submitting to Gugliemelli’s direction. Gugliemelli described the character as “a frat guy super into muscles and getting bigger. He took steroids. Was extremely sexual, had smelly armpits. He had a harem of women around him—a very sexual being.” Struck by the bizarre nature of the character, Lillyman expressed some reluctance to Gugliemelli.

“He assured me,” Lillyman says, “‘Don’t worry, this is normal.’ I had no idea what auditions for TV were like.”

Then things got even stranger.

“It escalated,” Lillyman recalls. “Auditions got longer and more intense. I started taking off my shirt and stripping down to my underwear. Flexing. [Gugliemelli] was encouraging me to lose my inhibitions and go into an adrenaline rage, as if I was on steroids. As an actor, I knew how to act in that way. I love losing my inhibitions and getting into a crazed mental state.”

After almost two months, Lillyman began to grow weary. Gugliemelli informed him that the producers had narrowed the call to just three actors, including Lillyman. Then he warned him that “they’re great actors and would do anything on stage. He told me one of the actors literally sh*t on stage. That’s what I was up against.” When Lillyman expressed reluctance about the intensity of the audition, Gugliemelli threatened to pull him from consideration.

“He was manipulating my dreams,” Lillyman admits in retrospect. “Taking my passion and using it against me.”

The pair arranged to film one final audition. “In the final audition he said it was extremely important we get it right,” Lillyman recalls with dread. “‘I’ll come to your house and film it.’ We filmed, and we filmed, and we filmed. He said ‘It’s not right. You need to do more. You need to do something that will stand out.’”

Four hours and 15 performances later, Lillyman felt exhausted. Guliemelli then offered an odd piece of direction. “Go masturbate in the bathroom to get to the right mental state.”

Tired, frustrated and desperate, Lillyman went to the bathroom. “I’d heard of actors doing more for less,” he reasoned. “And I did it. “

The two filmed the scene again. “Much better,” Gugliemelli complimented him. “But I think we can do even better if we audition you while you’re masturbating. That’ll be the one.”

“I was really beat down from four hours of the auditions,” Lillyman laments. “I was just like, f*ck it.”

With the lights low, Lillyman stripped naked and began to masturbate. Gugliemelli sat on the couch across from him, filming as he performed the audition monologue. “I was screaming, and it was very strange,” Lillyman admits. “But apparently it was what he wanted.”

Gugliemelli then suggested he perform oral sex on Lillyman. Lillyman, who is heterosexual, declined.

Lillyman sent the video to Allison Mossie. Not long after, Gugliemelli left his contract at the Crane River Theatre to return to New York. Lillyman didn’t hear anything back from Mossie or Gugliemelli.

That would not be the last Lillyman heard about Bulk.

Landon Summers. Courtesy Curtis Brown Photography

Landon

Within a few weeks of his final audition, Josh Lillyman went to a bar with some of his castmates. Among them: Landon Summers, a 26-year-old North Carolina native. In passing, Summers mentioned that Disney had offered him a contract performing for their cruise line. He added that he might turn it down in favor of a new HBO series called Bulk.

Lillyman immediately asked Summers about Bulk, and Joey Gugliemelli’s involvement. Summers recounted the experience.

“It must have been a month or two in. We were almost done with Little Mermaid. Joey and I had become close at that point. I thought he was artistically brilliant. Fun. I thought we were going to be best friends,” Summers told us of his Crane River experience. The pair stayed up late at night talking and goofing off. Then Gugliemelli mentioned Allison Mossie and Bulk.

“What Joey really nailed me on, in hindsight, was that it was a bad time in my life,” Summers now admits. “I was looking for answers at the bottom of a bottle. I was working out a lot, but not having a lot of results. He knew I was very insecure about my physique.”

The idea of a role that would combine his artistic drive with a chance to get in shape sounded like music to Summers. Gugliemelli assured him that, if Summers won the role in Bulk, he would receive a stipend, a gym membership and a personal trainer to prepare for the role. Gugliemelli also showed Summers Facebook chats with beautiful women, whom he claimed would also star in the show.

Landon Summers with Sherry Pie

“The idea that there was a play that could better my career and fix a lot of my insecurity issues was extremely enticing,” Summers remembers.

Summers dove into his audition prep for Bulk, learning the monologues for his character, and providing Allison Mossie with his measurements. Allison and Joey both encouraged him to audition in his underwear. Summers refused.

“In hindsight, the monologues are hideous,” Summers admits. “They sound so stupid. But we just wanted to make a name for ourselves, and didn’t mind putting ourselves out there until it happened.”

After providing Mossie with a series of audition videos, Disney contacted Summers about the offer for a cruise contract. He began to stress over which job to take. “I almost didn’t do this cruise contract because an off-Broadway show would be great for my career, especially if its turned into an HBO thing,” he says. “I was very much talking about it with other members of the cast, with my own family.”

Landon Summers breakdown for the ‘Bulk’ Monologue

That talking about the role proved lucky. Had Summers not mentioned it at the bar in front of Josh Lillyman, its possible Gugliemelli would have duped them even further.

“Josh said ‘Landon, I’ve figured this all out. Joey’s been doing the same thing to me all summer.’” Lillyman, however, stopped short of mentioning the masturbation audition. At first Summers didn’t believe Lillyman. He contacted Mossie instead, but still decided to take the cruise job.

“I emailed her and told her that I would not be involved,” Summers says, “a couple weeks later she emailed me and said her team really liked the submission. They’d be willing to postpone the project date to work on stuff while you’re gone. I guess Joey’s aim was to keep getting material from me.”

As it happened, Summers had left Nebraska to return to New York to pack for his cruise contract. Mossie wanted to meet in person to discuss the role, but Summers declined. Not long after, Josh Lillyman called and explained everything.

While Summers had gone to New York, Lillyman had begun his own investigation. He performed a reverse image search based on the picture in Allison Mossie’s email signature line. The search led him to a woman named Allison Mossie on Facebook. Lillyman contacted her only to learn that she’d never heard of Bulk or Joey Gugliemelli. Lillyman also contacted Playwright’s Horizon and learned that the theatre had never heard of Bulk, Mossie or Gugliemelli. Then he began comparing the writing in the monologues, Guglimelli’s text messages and Mossie’s emails. A careful examination revealed the same grammatical errors in each.

“All the pieces came together,” Summers admits. “To learn about Josh was super upsetting. I saw Josh going down really, really dark holes that summer. I tried to talk to him, and he was very defensive toward me. I never understood why, but it all makes sense afterwords. He called me in tears and said he was sorry that he treated me that way all summer. He was the one that did the research to figure out it was all fake.”

Having discovered Gugliemelli’s hoax, Josh Lillyman contacted a lawyer with his case. The attorney advised him that without further evidence, he didn’t have many legal options to pursue against Gugliemelli. Landon Summers took a more direct approach.

“I messaged Joey on Facebook and said ‘Why? Why do you get off on this? I thought we were friends. He tried calling me, but I was just so angry, I couldn’t speak. Then Joey turned it around on me. ‘If you’re thinking that I’m the kind of person that would do that to you, we clearly have no relationship.’” Gugliemelli responded by blocking Summers on all social media. Unlike Lillyman or Ben Shimkus, though, Summers didn’t try to inform authorities.

“I never said anything,” Summers laments. “A lot of people ask me why I didn’t go to the authorities. I didn’t know that this was something that I could even follow up with. I heard from a friend that Joey went to college with that said it didn’t surprise him about Joey. I knew there were others.”

Landon Summers was right.

Danyel Lynn Evans

Danyel

Along with Summers, Lillyman, Shimkus & Newman, Danyel Lynn Evans met Gugliemelli as a performer. The New York-based actor was 32 when their paths first crossed.

“Back in Fall 2017 I got asked to do a Broadway Mondays-type show at a bar in Chelsea” Evans recalls. “Initially, it was supposed to be just me. Eventually, the owners wanted a drag persona too.” Sherry Pie, Gugliemelli’s drag alter ego came up as a suggestion. Evans agreed to meet him to discuss the show.

“We didn’t see eye-to-eye,” Evans admits. “She wanted it to be more of a drag show. I wanted it to just have a host in drag.” Evans says that the owners eventually sided with Gugliemelli, who took over hosting duties, essentially supplanting him.

“About a week later [Gugliemelli] sent me an Instagram message,” Evans claims. “She was like, ‘So sorry about everything that happened. I might be able to help you with something else though.’” Gugliemelli sent Evans contact information for Allison Mossie. He also mentioned that Evans would have to gain weight for the part.

Screenshot of Danyel Evans correspondence with Sherry Pie

“[Gugliemelli] said ‘They’ll want you to get bigger,’” he remembers. He passed his email address along, but heard nothing. Gugliemelli did message him several days later apologizing for the delay, and reiterating that Evans needed to gain muscle. “She kept going on and on about getting bigger, and getting bigger quicker. I think she was trying to get me to say something about doing steroids. I never took the bait.”

Evans got off easy. Three other men, all of whom agreed to speak with Queerty under the guise of anonymity, described similar circumstances similar to Lillyman, Shimkus and Summers.

“Hank” heard from Allison Mossie following a United Professional Theatre Auditions casting call in Nashville in 2017. UPTAs acts as a sort of aggregator for theatres around the United States, allowing actors to audition for multiple directors, companies and casting officials at once. Age 24, Hank performed a comic monologue in which he played a dumb jock. Mossie contacted him shortly thereafter.

Mossie and Hank discussed Bulk and The Nightmare Before Christmas over a nine-month period. He also spoke with Mossie’s casting “associate,” Joey Gugliemelli on the phone.

“He was pretty believable,” Hank says. “He would conduct himself well whenever we did a phone call. He sounded like a 20-something casting associate always on the run.” Gulgiemelli provided Hank with the audition monologues to Bulk. Hank balked upon reading them.

“They were horrible sides. It was a character all about his size and his stench, smelling armpits, passing gas. It was humiliating.” Nevertheless, Hank sent several audition videos to Mossie. Each time, he would get bizarre directions back like “Can you make it more about smelling your armpits?”

Hank ended up moving to New York and hiring a manager. After a silence that lasted several months, Mossie contacted him again. Hank referred her to his manager, and never heard from Mossie or Gugliemelli again.

Sherry Pie. Via YouTube

Another 20-something actor we’ll call “Billy” had a similar encounter. He corresponded with Gugliemelli over 18 months, sending a number of video auditions performing a sexually charged scene in which he needed to fake orgasms. Billy eventually figured out that Gugliemelli was not a casting associate, and had been using the videos for his own purposes. Billy never told anyone what happened until he saw Ben Shimkus’ post.

Another man, “Jimmy” did not discuss his experiences in detail, other than to admit that yes, Joey Gugliemelli had solicited similar audition videos from him. Like the others, he didn’t come forward until he learned of Shimkus’s post.

According to David Newman and Ben Shimkus, upwards of 30 men have contacted them individually to share their own stories about getting duped into sending the bizarre auditions to Joey Gugliemelli. Many have not gone public because of the stigma involved, and because of what they do in the videos. In every case, the men have one burning question: why?

Josh Lillyman with Sherry Pie

Looking for Answers

“I think he has a power complex,” Josh Lillyman speculates. “I think he enjoys having power over people like me who have no idea, who do what he wants them to do. He gets gratification from a power complex, and I also think that he wasn’t getting attention from other men he wanted. So he had to seek it out and force them to, essentially. He’s a functional predator.”

Following his encounter with Gugliemelli, Lillyman quit acting, studied business in Korea and changed his major, scarred by the whole experience. He’s recently returned to acting in community theatre.

“I think it’s people he knows he can’t have,” David Newman postulates. “I didn’t flip. And my other friend—he definitely wanted to flip him. The guy was a tall bodybuilder. It was all sexual and f*cking gross. I’m really thankful for #MeToo. Now we have the right mindset where if we have this happen, it won’t drag out for years and years.”

Newman also left acting, becoming a full-time musician. He still works in theatre, playing guitar.

When it comes to motive, Landon Summers doesn’t mince words. “I think this goes into some spank bank. When he’s having a lonely night, he pulls up videos of people that he’s fooled and jacks off to them.”

Summers just married his longtime girlfriend, whom he met on the Disney Cruise just after his encounter with Guliemelli. Had he not accepted the contract, they likely would have never met.

“I just felt really shameful about what I’d sent,” Ben Shimkus confesses. “I felt really naive. I still kind of do.” Still, for Shimkus, good has come from sharing his experience. “The situation makes me feel stronger. I decided to use my voice to speak out and hopefully build some sort of coalition of people who understood what was going on. It’s blowing up into something I didn’t expect at all. It makes me a stronger performer. That hurt sometimes translates to characters on stage, but it makes me realize my voice is important to have.”

Shimkus is currently employed as a vocalist on Oceania Cruises.

World of Wonder has reacted to the allegations against Guglimelli by disqualifying him from Drag Race and disinviting him from the finale and reunion episodes. The remainder of season 12, which has already been filmed, will air as is. The allegations have also prompted casting directors like Mike Page to renew a call for stricter guidelines and monitoring of auditions.

“You can’t blame any of the victims,” Page stressed. “These are people with a dream who are desperate to make it a reality. There are so many false, incorrect pieces of advice to do what they think they have to do to break through. These predators take advantage and destroy lives. Nobody should ever have to get naked for an audition.”

As for Gugliemelli, he has issued a statement on Facebook. It reads, in part, “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.  Until being on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I never really understood how much my mental health and taking care of things meant. 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.”

Queerty reached out to Joey Gugliemelli for comment. He did not return our calls.