Fans of Drag Race clutched their pearls recently. Not because the finale was cruelly postponed a week—but because fan fave Sharon Needles was branded a racist.
The Huffington Post’s Zach Stafford reports on a old Facebook status update spinning around the blogosphere, in which Needles drops an N bomb and alludes to cheating on his kai kai, Alaska Thunderfuck.
“i fucked a black last week…call me a cheater, not a racists..i don’t say n-word..i say nigger..thats the word..i’m not afraid of language..and i’m not afraid to say red lipstick is not your color..and i’m not afraid to say that i hate when people post pictures of them self eating..beans for that matter!! but the baby picture is super cute!!”
Stafford says the post left him “unsettled and a tad angry” and labeled Needle’s language “uncalled for and inappropriate, to say the least.”
Honestly, we’re not sure what the post is implying—there’s no context. We’ve never met Needles and we don’t know how she normally talks about black people. Based on what we’ve seen of her on the show, it sounds like:
A. She was making a point about political correctness and closet racism, and
B. She may have been drunk.
We’ve all said racist, sex and even homophobic things in our lives. Sure, most of us wouldn’t post them on Facebook but drag queens are supposed to be inappropriate and flout propriety. (Divine ate actual dog shit!)
We love RuPaul to pieces, but in devoting ourselves to Drag Race so much, we’ve forgotten that we’re not seeing how queens really act—we’re seeing a carefully edited and plotted show, where the drama and outbursts are either orchestrated or seemlessly rearranged after the fact.
Remember when Drag Race made a big deal about Phi Phi O’Hara referring to Latrice Royale and Dida Ritz as “the Help”? Honestly, it was the only funny thing we’ve heard O’Hara—a queen of color herself—say all season. Hell, we wouldn’t be surprised if the producers wrote it for her.
We’ve laughed till tears streamed down our faces at Bianca del Rio, the most biting drag queen in New York. (Seriously, the bitch casts more shade than an elm tree.) Do we blush at her un-PC shenanigans even as we giggle? Sure, but she’s only reflecting reality back at us through a fun-house mirror.
And that’s what drag queens do—it’s really the only job requirement. Not lip-synching, not hot-glue-gunning your dress together, not Swiffering the floor with your taint.
As we said, context is everything: “I’m such a fan of using shocking images, whether they be relevant or not…,” Needles said in an interview. “I don’t hate anyone for how they look. I hate people for who they are.” In a follow-up to the original post, she cites Patti Smith, Joan Rivers, John Lennon and other artists who have incorporated the N-word into their act.
But a post on Thunderfuck’s website—signed by “A Concerned Citizen”—is suggesting that the Facebook outburst is just the latest in a string of questionable incidents by Needles:
There have been many accusations and rumours concerning the so-called drag queen known as Sharon Needles as of late. But as a concerned citizen and a professional activist I will refrain from petty personal attacks and trite gossip. Let us start with cold. Hard. Facts.
SOME FACTS ABOUT SHARON NEEDLES
Sharon Needles has worn a swastika t-shirt.
Sharon Needles has worn an upside-down cross.
Sharon Needles has worn a Confederate flag one-piece swimsuit.
Sharon Needles has used the N-WORD onstage.
The post goes recount an incident where Needles used the N-word in public at Pittsburgh’s Blue Moon lounge and brands the goth queen “a hipster racist.” Of course it also states that “Men should be men [and] women should be women,” and urges readers to banish words like cock, pussy, vagina and Voldemort “into the darkest recesses of your spirit immediately.” So who the hell knows.
Was it Alaska herself who posted that undated rant or did someone hack her page? Was it an honest accusation or part of some performance piece the dynamic duo have cooked up?
With Sharon apparently calling herself a “cheater,” Alaska has something to be pissed about. But just this Friday, Needles told NewNowNext that Thunderfuck was her biggest source of support. “He is my biggest fan and best employee—Honestly, it is nice to date someone who has such an open mind and is so, so supportive of me and my career.”
God, we hope this all blows up during the reunion special!
UPDATE April 30, 2012: Sharon Needles has posted on Facebook that the original status update from February was a fake:
I’m known for my filthy mouth, and I wish I could take credit for this one, but this is an obvious forgery. A very famous black man in a blonde wig once said that what other people think of me is none of my business, but in rare form I feel compelled to respond to this false Facebook post.
It disheartens me to think that anyone would think I have any negative views on race, sex, creed, weight, or any other “label.” I am too smart and too inspired by all levels of pop culture to hate anyone on something as simple as race. To whomever created this fabricated Facebook post, I applaud you for serving social media realness, but I suggest you spend your free time on something more productive.
Stafford, the HuffPo writer who raised the issue, tweeted:
“I am sorry to @Sharon_Needles for any harm done with leaking that photo. I showed it in order to find out if it was true or not.”
We’ve put a request in to get the T from Needles herself and will report back soon!
UPDATE MAY 1, 2012: Stafford reached out to Queerty and explained that his tweet was in reference to an unrelated image, not the alleged Facebook status.
Photo: Mathu Andersen for Logo