Drag Race's Michelle Visage addresses contestant use of blackface

Lisa Wehrstedt
·3-min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage spoke out about the recently unearthed pictures of one of the new season's contestants in blackface.

Scarlet Adams, a drag queen from Perth, Australia was revealed as part of the cast of the upcoming spin-off RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under, which will pit 10 queens from Australia and New Zealand against each other.

After the casting announcement, fans started sharing some pictures of Adams' old performances, which saw her in black and brown face, as well as culturally insensitive costumes.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Drag Race spin-off reveals its line-up of queens

Addressing the backlash Michelle Visage said: "I know they apologised and that’s it.

"I say this to my own children, you have to think about why you do things and what you do, and I think it’s important for people to take responsibility," she told the Metro.

"So I think that apologies were made, apologies were necessary."

The presenter went on to talk about the importance of accountability by saying: "Even if it’s a job interview later on, trust me when I tell you that every employer does what they can do to dig stuff up on you.

"Whether it works or not, one person just has to drop that little gem they've been holding onto. Everything could be taken away from you.

"Everyone needs to be held responsible," she added.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under reveals Kylie Minogue and more as guest judges

Among some of the pictures that have been resurfaced are one of Scarlet in brown make-up and blacked-out teeth wearing a T-shirt with the Australian Aboriginal flag, one of the performer dressed up as a geisha, one of her in deep brown/black make-up and one of her wearing a Native-American headdress.

The pictures first surfaced in June 2020, which prompted the queen to apologise publicly. After the most recent wave of fan uproar, she apologised again on her social media.

"In recent days I have heard stories repeated about my past; rumours that I would like the opportunity to address directly and honestly," she wrote in a statement to her over 20.000 Instagram followers.

"Despite this being a story I am deeply ashamed of, and something I had tried to forget, I've come to realise in recent years that taking responsibility and admitting my mistakes is an important learning experience, and something that has helped shape me as a performer, and mature as a person.

Photo credit: World of Wonder/Sacha Stejko - BBC
Photo credit: World of Wonder/Sacha Stejko - BBC

Related: Drag Race Down Under first-look trailer features RuPaul showing no mercy

"There is no way to sugarcoat it, when I was a teenager roughly eight years ago I performed in blackface/cultural appropriation. I was young and I was ignorant. I am no longer that person.

"For the hurt that I caused, I am sorry. I am sorry I used my platform in the past to do something that ridiculed people who have faced centuries of systematic racism. I am sorry for those who see those images and are hurt by it now.

"I know I will never understand what it's like to be a person of colour. But I have been hurt before and to think that I made someone else feel that way is an unfathomable feeling."

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under begins Sunday, May 2 on BBC iPlayer.

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