TORONTO — Canadian streaming service Crave and contestants of “Canada’s Drag Race” are speaking out against hateful messages some of the show’s queens and judges have received from viewers on social media.
Vancouver-based drag artist and contestant Ilona Verley tweeted this week that she “ended up in the hospital with a suicide attempt” from all the hate she was getting after a recent episode aired.
She said she’s sick of letting people get away with bullying, and vowed to defend fellow queen and contestant Rita Baga against the vitriol she’s also getting online.
Idk if this is too real for y’all but after episode 4 I actually ended up in the hospital with a suicide attempt from all the fucking hate I was getting. I can only imagine what Rita’s going through. What are you guys gonna do when you end up killing one of us?
— Ilona Verley (@IlonaVerley) August 24, 2020
Verley later tweeted that she’s now fine and “in a really good head space.”
Follow up on my tweet from this morning, I’m fine & currently in a really good head space! It’s really crazy how seriously people take something they haven’t been through. The journey of being on reality tv is so unique. I don’t think I could ever fully explain it.
— Ilona Verley (@IlonaVerley) August 25, 2020
Meanwhile Scarlett BoBo, who is also competing on the show, tweeted: “Please stop sending hate to members of the cast,” adding: “It’s fine to have your favourites but bullying is not okay.”
In an emailed statement to The Canadian Press, Crave said it hopes fans will respect the show’s message of “inclusivity and acceptance.”
“‘Canada’s Drag Race’ has an international fan base, and it’s unfortunate that some of those fans have let their passion cross the boundary into harassment by posting hateful comments about our queens and judges online,” said the Bell Media streamer, which debuted the show last month.
“There is no place for hate in the ‘Canada’s Drag Race’ community, or anywhere.”
Like “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the Canadian version is a competition series in which drag artists compete in a series of challenges for the title of the Next Drag Superstar and a grand prize of $100,000.
The main judging panel includes Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Stacey McKenzie.
Bowyer-Chapman has also been criticized on social media for his pointed critiques on the judging panel, and recently deleted his Twitter account.
“Rupaul’s Drag Race” season 6 contestant Osmond Vacious, a.k.a. Vivacious, wrote on Instagram that the criticism of Bowyer-Chapman has made the judge limit his interaction with fans.
“The bullying has to stop,” wrote Vacious.
Other contestants confronting the cyber bullying include Juice Boxx and Priyanka, who tweeted: “I know, it’s a TV show and we all have something to say. But for a show that celebrates the LGBTQ2S+ community, we have to keep this home safe.”