Joey Zauzig posing shirtless and taking a selfie.
Image Credit: Instagram, @joeyzauzig

MTV’s Real Friends of WeHo has been off the air for three months, yet, the drama surrounding the much-maligned reality show persists.

One of the show’s most polarizing cast members, influencer Joey Zauzig, appeared this week on Dear Media’s “Everything is the Best” podcast and complained about the criticism surrounding the show.

Zauzig directed much of his ire towards fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race who were upset the Housewives-wannabe production shortened episodes by 30 minutes last season (WeHo aired directly after Drag Race).

“They’re getting their 30 minutes back, so it doesn’t even make sense to me,” he said. “Also, it was only 90 minutes for five seasons, and it’s been on for 15 seasons. They started doing 90 minutes, and then they just went back to 60. And now, they’re going back to 90.”

For a show that’s desperate for good publicity, ripping Drag Race fans doesn’t seem like the smartest strategy. The show is a gay cultural phenomenon! 

An average of 609,000 people tuned into each episode last season, and few of them stuck around for WeHo. The debut episode only held onto 29% of Drag Race’s audience.

Zauzig, who was often in the middle of inner-show drama, said Drag Race fans were scapegoating the show’s cast members for the decision to cut 30 minutes off of their favorite show.

“We knew filming the show before we wrapped: we were gonna have some hate watches. Our community just does that for these sorts of shows. We knew there was going to be backlash,” he said. “But one thing we also knew was, the Drag Race community is diehard. You don’t want to f*ck with that. So when we found out we were after Drag Race, we didn’t know they never told us they were cutting 30 minutes. We were like, ‘Yes! We’re after Drag Race!'”

“Then we see all of these petitions and tweets. Who do you think people blamed? The cast.”

But Zauzig’s worst line came later, when he suggested that Drag Race comes up short in its representation of the gay community.

Strong words from a rich, cis white gay man who lives in Los Angeles.

“Gay guys, I feel like, have a hard time seeing themselves. Where Drag Race is a nice representation of the gay community, but they’re in makeup and drag – but when it comes to having a show about six gay guys who are working and doing their thing in L.A., gay guys don’t wanna see that,” he said.

Or maybe, gay guys don’t want to watch six pretentious non-friends complain about nonsense all day. Ever think of that?!

Derided for its focus on semi-famous and pretentious gays, The Real Friends of WeHo was facing backlash before it even hit the air.

And some cast members didn’t help matters with their public airing of grievances. 

The beleaguered musician-choreographer Toderick Hall, for example, shot back at the show’s many critics by recreating the famous Regina George “fugly slut” scene (the Instagram video has now been deleted). 

Days later, Real Friends of WeHo star Dorión Renaud, an entrepreneur best known as the CEO of Buttah, one of the top Black-owned skincare companies in the world, admitted the cast members aren’t actually friends.

In the same interview, Renaud said he mistakenly thought the show was going to focus on his brand.

Shortly after the show stopped airing, Zauzig ripped into his co-stars for not understanding the premise of reality TV.

“When you go on a reality show, you sign up to be vulnerable and to be yourself and nothing can be off limits when you sign that contract, btch,” he told Interview magazine. “So yeah, in the beginning, I felt like, ‘Okay, I’m the only one bringing up sht.’”

Later in the convo, Zauzig said Renaud and media personality Jaymes Vaughan were especially difficult to work with.

On the “Everything is the Best” podcast, Zauzig called out Vaughan for not promoting or defending the show amidst the tidal wave of criticism.

“It pisses me off, because who goes on a show and doesn’t promote it. It doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.

Zauzig says he faced personal attacks about his weight and skin, too.

“It just sucked that we had to deal with that,” he said.

With the status of Real Friends of WeHo still up in the air (Zauzig says they’re unsure whether MTV will pick up another season), MTV execs may be waiting to see whether reaction around the show changes.

Zauzig’s most recent interview probably didn’t help in that regard. He didn’t just anger Drag Race fans. He angered some of the queens themselves.


Zauzig is most definitely in this week’s bottom three. Check out more of the blowback below…

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