Culture

RuPaul Confronted Scarlet Adams About Her Blackface Past In ‘Drag Race Down Under’

This apology has not washed with 'Drag Race Down Under' viewers.

drag race down under

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After photos of her in blackface surfaced earlier this year, Scarlet Adams was finally forced to address her racist past in this week’s episode of Drag Race Down Under.

After the episode’s first challenge, Art Simone was compelled (by the producers) to ask whether any of the queens in the werkroom regretted anything they’d done in drag. After a handful of quippy answers, Scarlet Adams solemnly offered up the confession she had donned blackface in drag in the past in an effort to make people laugh.

Adams’ tears threatened to flow but Lebanese-Australian queen, Etcetera Etcetera held Adams accountable, explaining that blackface is inexcusable. “I’ve never looked at something like blackface and thought that could be an honest mistake,” said Etcetera.

“A lot of drag scenes are extremely racist. I see a lot of queens saying, ‘it was just a joke’ and ‘you should get over it.’ But while people of colour and trans people are still facing violence every single day from the systematic oppression we live in, isn’t a joke to me.”

Etcetera finished by saying to Adams, “I think going forward there should be a lot of steps of reparation, and not just saying you’re sorry, but doing things to show that you’re sorry.”

RuPaul gave Adams another opportunity to apologise after she walked the runway. Adams once again apologised profusely saying, “I regret the fact that I used my platform as a performer to ridicule people who’ve faced systematic racism for hundreds of years… I’m really sorry to you and to everyone that I have hurt.”

This apology has not washed with Drag Race Down Under‘s audience. First Nations and other viewers of colour are underwhelmed and infuriated that Scarlet Adams got a slap on the wrist for her racism, and still won the day.

After weeks of seeing the show’s contestants of colour treated with clear prejudice, consistent placement in the bottom 2, etc. it’s not hard to see why many believe Adams’ apology is meaningless and performative.