The RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant who was disqualified due to a predatory catfishing scheme apologized in a live interview on the Tamron Hall show on Tuesday.
Joey Gugliemelli, better known as Sherry Pie, did not deny his victims’ claims, of which the talk show host said there are now “up to about a dozen.”
“I first want to say, there are no allegations,” Gugliemelli said in the interview. “I admit to my wrongdoings and, just beyond wrongdoings, horrible behavior.”
According to five men who spoke to BuzzFeed News in March 2020, Gugliemelli pretended to be a casting agent named Allison Mossie in order to trick the aspiring actors into sending sexually degrading “audition videos” of themselves, including one in which a victim masturbated on camera.
In the Tuesday interview, Gugliemelli again apologized, saying, “I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and the trauma that I have caused.” He said he had reached out and spoken to three of his victims, noting that one of them asked not to be contacted again.
He said he had been seeing several therapists over the past year. He has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but said, “I don’t blame my mental illness for anything I’ve done,” according to TVLine.
Upon announcing the interview, Tamron Hall was widely criticized for having Gugliemelli on the show, with many denouncing the host for giving him a platform to potentially smooth over his image.
One of the victims, Ben Shimkus, tweeted that he had spoken to producers of Hall’s show: “I … told them that I and the 20 victims that I spoke to today DO NOT want them to air a segment with Sherry Pie,” but that they had decided to go ahead with it anyway.
Jackie Cox, another Drag Race contestant from Season 12, tweeted that the Tamron Hall show should “reconsider giving Sherry Pie access to the platform of national television to tell their side of the story without first speaking with the victims of her abuses and allowing them to weigh in on their own trauma.”
“Being a performer and public persona is not a right, it is a privilege,” Cox tweeted. “Sherry relinquished this privilege by their actions. Giving Sherry a spotlight without the forethought to reach out to victims is irresponsible, immoral, & wrong. I stand with the victims of Sherry’s actions.”
Hall addressed the criticism prior to Gugliemelli’s interview, saying the interview was not an effort to absolve him of his wrongdoing.
“It’s not giving away your platform — it’s called an interview, and people who do bad things are interviewed. R. Kelly comes to mind,” Hall said.
Hall also added that the interview would air live and that Gugliemelli would not be allowed to use it as an opportunity to plug anything he might profit from, such as a book or podcast.
“We believe the men who’ve gone on record about Sherry Pie,” Hall said. “We believe in being fair, and we don’t give free passes.”