Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman Has Called Out Queer White ‘Drag Race’ Fans For Bullying
The Drag Race judge says the show's own fans subjected him to "the most vicious bullying I have experienced in my life."
For over a decade, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a shining beacon of light for the queer community (and beyond), but as it’s grown into a global pop culture phenomenon, a darker side has emerged as a large group of fans use social media to bully the show’s perceived villains.
It’s something we’ve written about a lot at Junkee, and something many of the queens themselves have spoken about publicly, and it was on full display during the first season of Canada’s Drag Race, as fans viciously turned on first-time judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman over his harsh critiques of the queens.
There’s no denying that the critiques on the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race stood in stark contrast to the tone of rest of the show, which was refreshing in its overall niceness, with the trademark Canadian courtesy on display throughout the season. It was also clear that producers had particular storylines in mind, and the show’s edits stuck to those lines, even as they didn’t quite align with what was happening on the main stage.
And sure, some of JBC’s critiques were a little off — who could forget the time he patronisingly welcomed Jimbo to the competition a week after our favourite drag clown won the main challenge? But the vitriol thrown at Bowyer-Chapman was way out of proportion to what is, at the end of the day, just a reality TV show about drag queens.
It’s worth noting that Bowyer-Chapman wasn’t alone in his sometimes harsh critiques: Brooke Lynn Hytes was criticised for body shaming when she suggested to Ilona Verley put makeup on her ass to cover up the dimples. But Brook Lynn was never subjected to the same online bullying as JBC, and it’s hard not to notice that JBC is a person of colour, on a show whose fanbase has a notorious history of bullying queens of colour in particular.
Today, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has posted on Instagram about his experience as the show aired, calling it “the most vicious bullying I have experienced in my life.”
View this post on Instagram
Today I stand with @glaad on #SpiritDay in the mission to end the culture of bullying. We as LGBTQIA+ folk, who have existed for so long outside of the status-quo, are all too familiar with the traumatic and lasting effects of bullying and harassment we face for simply being our full, authentic selves. Anyone who has the audacity to express all of who they are in the face of a world that is constantly trying to make us smaller and conform to outdated social norms is worthy of celebration, not to be systematically taken down and made to play small to make others more comfortable in our presence. (SWIPE TO CONTINUE READING) #GLAAD #LGBTQIA #SayNoToBullying #SpiritDay #CelebrateYourself #LoveEachOther #xoJBC
“Today I stand with @glaad on #SpiritDay in the mission to end the culture of bullying. We as LGBTQIA+ folk, who have existed for so long outside of the status-quo, are all too familiar with the traumatic and lasting effects of bullying and harassment we face for simply being our full, authentic selves,” he wrote, before detailing his experience, and particularly calling out the show’s queer, white fanbase.
“I was harassed online, had vile racist remarks thrown my way, and received daily death threats for two months. The most heartbreaking part of it all was that the vast majority of the hate I received was from members of the LGBTQIA+ community… predominantly white gay men.”
In the lengthy post, JBC called on members of the queer community to support each other, and thanked his personal support network that helped him get through the period of intense bullying. You can read Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman’s full Instagram post here.