The much-anticipated RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is scheduled to hit streaming platforms later this year, but controversies have already engulfed it with two drag queens from the upcoming first season accused of racist behaviour in the past. Both queens have now posted apologies on social media. 

Drag Race Down Under contestant Scarlet Adams is the latest one to have come under criticism in the last few days after her past racist performances were rediscovered. 

Felicia Foxx, a legendary Aboriginal drag queen, shared photos of Adams on their Instagram account after it had been brought to their attention. In the photos, Adams is seen wearing a slew of insensitive costumes, including a Native American headdress, a burqa, dressing up as a Bollywood star, and multiple instances of yellowface and blackface.

One particularly shocking photo shows Adams in blackface with two teeth blacked out, and wearing an Aboriginal flag shirt. The photo was part of a performance on Invasion Day in 2012.


“It makes me sick to my core to see numerous people in the LGBTQ+ community who are profiting off of making a mockery and disrespecting peoples cultures,” Foxx wrote when sharing the photos. “My people & our culture is not a joke for anyone, especially privileged dominating cultures to make a mockery out of us!” 

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Messages between Foxx and an attendee of one of Adams’ shows were also posted, with the individual claiming that Adams used slurs against Indigenous people. Foxx’s post was taken down by Instagram but appears to have been reinstated. 

Scarlet Adams Apologises For Blackface

Responding to the allegations, Adams reposted an apology she made in July of 2020, as well as another from last week.

“There is no way to sugar-coat it, when I was a teenager roughly 8 years ago I performed in blackface/cultural appropriation. I was young and I was ignorant. I am no longer that person,” Adams wrote in the updated apology. “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.”

Adams also responded to Fox directly on her Instagram post: “Felicia, I’m so sorry you had to see this and I feel awful, I have so much respect for you. I have addressed this a few times.  It’s on my Instagram at the very top under highlights.  It’s a past I’m very not proud of and wish I could go back and not do.  I have spent my career trying to right these wrongs from my teenage years. And will continue to strive to be a better person and ally for all marginalised communities. I’m not that person anymore. I am sorry.”

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Multiple drag queens have come out in support of Foxx, including Drag Race Canada’s Ilona Verley and Perth queen Serenity Saint Laurent.

“Blackface, yellowface, cultural appropriation, all have been on stage a=or in display in both queer venues in Perth, and for the most part, it’s gone unchecked or swept under the rug,” Wrote Saint Laurent, who performs at queer club Connections. 

The Court, a venue where Adams has performed for many years, has deleted the photos and videos of Adams’ racist performances from their social media and has joined her apology “unreservedly.”

Karen From Finance

This is the second Drag Race Down Under contestant to be accused of  racist behaviour. Last month, Karen From Finance had to apologise after people noticed she had a golliwog doll tattoo, a piece she claimed she got done because of her collection of the toys. The golliwog portrayed as a child’s rag doll is considered a racist caricature of Black people.

“I realised how irresponsible and stupid I had been and so I disposed of the dolls to landfill and had my tattoo covered,” Karen from Finance claimed.

The fact that two of the seven Australian Down Under queens have displayed racist behaviour is disappointing, but ultimately not surprising. 

“I fully understand that people make mistakes and grow from them but once you continue to take the piss out of numerous cultures on various occasions after you’ve been called out is is concerning and down right vulgar. Being a Proud, Aboriginal & Gay Man it’s only right I bring it to everyone’s attention that RACISM is very much alive on the Queer scene,” Fox said.

“To think this is what will be on display and representing the Australian Drag scene on RuPaul’s Drag Race Stan, an international television platform, is disgusting.” Felicia Foxx added on Instagram. 

Judges Michelle Visage and Rhys Nicholson revealed the Drag race Down Under Cast at the Mardi Gras parade on March 6, 2021.

The 10 Drag queens who will be part of the first season are  First Nations drag queen JoJo Zaho, Karen From Finance, Coco Jumbo, non-binary drag artist, Etecetera Etcetera, Maxi Shield, Art Simone, Scarlet Adams and New Zealand queens Elektra Shock, Anita Wigl’it and Kita Mean.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

 

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