Mea culpas

Two ‘Drag Race’ queens hit with allegations of racism

Karen from Finance, Scarlet Adams

Two contestants of Drag Race Down Under now face charges of racism from fellow contestants.

Scarlet Adams and Karen from Finance, two current contenders on the program, both issued apologies for past behavior. In the case of Adams, a series of old social media posts resurfaced showing the drag performer wearing a Native American headdress, a burka, and–most disturbingly–yellow and blackface as part of previous drag outfits. The images came to light after a fellow drag performer, Felicia Foxx, reposted them on social media.

“It makes me sick to my core to see numerous people in the LGBTQ+ community who are profiting off of making a mockery and disrespecting peoples cultures,” Foxx wrote in an Instagram post. “My people & our culture is not a joke for anyone, especially privileged dominating cultures to make a mockery out of us!”

Adams made a quick apology facing social media blowback. She had previously apologized for the drag looks in July 2020.

“There is no way to sugar-coat it, when I was a teenager roughly 8 years ago I performed in blackface/cultural appropriation. I was young and I was ignorant. I am no longer that person,” Adams said in her new apology via Instagram stories. “I know I will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color, But I have been hurt before and to think that I made someone else feel that way is an unfathomable feeling.”

Related: 10 Things This Season Of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Taught Us About Gay Racism

“Felicia, I’m so sorry you had to see this and I feel awful, I have so much respect for you. I have addressed this a few times,” Adams also wrote in a direct apology to Foxx.  “It’s on my Instagram at the very top under highlights.  It’s a past I’m very not proud of and wish I could go back and not do.  I have spent my career trying to right these wrongs from my teenage years. And will continue to strive to be a better person and ally for all marginalized communities. I’m not that person anymore. I am sorry.”

Meanwhile, fellow Drag Race Down Under contender Karen from Finance issued an apology for a tattoo of a golliwog doll, a rag doll traditionally used as a caricature of black people. She originally claimed to have gotten the tattoo as a memorial of her golliwog dolls growing up.

Like Adams, Karen from Finance took to Instagram to apologize.

“In the spirit of being open and upfront with my friends, family and followers I would like to address and formally apologize for a part of my past – something that I’ve long been remorseful for and admittedly ashamed to share,” she wrote. “Eleven years ago, I had a collection of golliwog dolls – a collection that began when I was two years old – and I made the uninformed, ignorant and regrettable decision to have one of these dolls tattooed. In the years following, and more notably after being interviewed by someone writing an opinion piece in a tattoo magazine, I realized how insensitive and hurtful this was.”

“Even though there was of course never any intention of malice,” she continued, “I realized how irresponsible and stupid I had been and so I disposed of the dolls to landfill and had my tattoo covered. Since then, I’ve committed to an ongoing journey of accountability, activism and education, and to uncover and unlearn any and all racial bias – conscious or unconscious – that may or may not be embedded within me. It has always been important to me that I use my platform for good whilst ensuring a safe community for anyone I am fortunate enough to have follow my journey.”

“I can’t change the past,” Karen concluded, “but I can and will work on the present and do better in the future, and with that you forever have my word.”

The apologies come just over a week since the announcement of the first Drag Race Down Under roster, which includes both Adams and Karen from Finance. World of Wonder, the company behind the Drag Race franchise has yet to respond to allegations against either queen.

Drag Race Down Under will air later this year, though a final release date has yet to be announced.