RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under star Scarlet Adams has denied a newly surfaced photo shows her making light of her racism scandal.
The Perth drag queen’s past use of racist Blackface and other offensive costumes was addressed on Drag Race Down Under at the weekend.
Ahead of the episode, First Nations drag queen Felicia Foxx shared a photo on Instagram of Scarlet wearing a dress with the words, “Quit drag”, “flop” and other messages.
In the post, Foxx made the suggestion that Adams’s dress was in response to the recent scandal.
“Taking accountability after being called out sis would have been a move in the right direction,” Foxx wrote.
“After seeing this most recent image of you playing victim I’ve come to realise that a racist like you will never take into [account] the atrocity you’ve caused towards marginalised communities.”
Adams responded to deny this was the case.
“Not sure what narrative has been pushed about this dress, but [it] has nothing to do with that situation,” she wrote.
“It’s nasty things people have said to me over the years including ‘k*ll yourself, ug*ly, f*g, sl*t, quit drag’ etc etc.”
Scarlet also denied she had blocked Foxx, explaining that Instagram had restricted her account over posts featuring nudity.
In March, Felicia Foxx called out Scarlet Adams after resurfaced photos showed her using Blackface in past drag acts.
The Indigenous performer said at the time, “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 people’s cultures.
“It makes me furious seeing my culture being dismantled, disregarded and s**t on”.
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Scarlet Adams addresses with ‘meaningful actions, not just hollow words’
In a lengthy new Instagram video on Sunday, Scarlet Adams addressed the scandal.
The performer claimed her Drag Race contract largely prevented her from speaking out before the latest episode aired.
She said she was “deeply ashamed” of the offensive performances and would always be.
“I cannot apologise enough for the hurt that was caused by these acts,” she said.
“I’ll continue to apologise for this because the BIPOC community deserve meaningful actions and not just hollow words.
Listing some, Scarlet explained, “I was the first person at the Court Hotel to start doing the Acknowledgement of Country, I made sure every time I went on stage that happened.
“I created a document that all performers who came to the Court Hotel have to sign.
“[It] said that performances that included cultural appropriation wouldn’t be tolerated, so mistakes that I made wouldn’t happen again.
“In producing shows at the Court I made sure to include POC or trans artists. Eight out of the nine shows that I produce there feature a POC or trans artist, often both.”
The drag queen said she had donated the proceeds of the offensive shows to charity.
Scarlet said she had also fundraised for Black Lives Matter during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“[I know] that I just can’t get online and flick the switch and just make everything okay and just move on,” she said.
“All I can do is be accountable for the things that I did, to apologise and continue to be the better version of myself than I was nine years ago.”
Scarlet Adams’ past blackface on Drag Race Down Under
Drag Race Down Under Scarlet Adams’ history of racist costumes emerged on the fifth episode of Drag Race Down Under.
Before the runway, Scarlet opened up to her fellow queens about the racist costumes.
“I’ve said and done things in drag that I regret a lot,” Scarlet said.
“[I] was a lot younger and stupid and naive, trying desperately to make people laugh.
“I have, in the past, like a lot of other queens, done blackface before, which I really regret. I’m disgusted in myself that I did those things.”
Etcetera Etcetera weighed in, saying she’s never looked at people who wore blackface in the past and thought it was an “honest mistake”.
Scarlet replied, “I didn’t know any better. Not that that’s an excuse, but it’s hard to unlearn things that are engrained into you as a child.”
Etcetera then added, “I think casual racism in conversation is very different to painting your face in blackface and performing a number for money. A lot of drag scenes are extremely racist.
“I see drag queens saying, ‘It was just a joke, you need to get over it.’
“People of colour and trans people are still facing violence every single day, from the systematic oppression that we live in. It isn’t a joke to me.”
RuPaul later confronted Scarlet Adams on the runway
After the latest episode’s challenge, RuPaul also addressed Scarlet’s blackface scandal and gave her the “opportunity” to explain herself.
“I can’t deny that that happened. As a dumb, ignorant teenager, I made some mistakes that I’m really not proud of,” Scarlet said.
“And everyday, I regret those decisions.
“I regret the fact I used my platform as a performer to ridicule people who’ve faced systemic racism for hundreds of years. I’m so ashamed of the person I once was.
“I’m really sorry to you and to everyone that I have hurt.”
RuPaul said she was “sure there are people that would want me to cancel you right here, right now.”
“But, I’d rather this be a lesson in humility and accountability. I pray that all of us can learn and grow from our mistakes,” Ru said.
However after the episode aired, some viewers were critical of the show’s handling of the issue.
“RuPaul getting more angry about a queen wearing a H&M dress than a queen doing blackface and other racist portrayals,” one person wrote.
Another tweeted, “You wait until there’s no one but white people in the room to discuss Scarlett Adams performing in blackface for years and she gives the most bullshit apology.”
One person added, “The worst part about Scarlet Adams’ apology was when she minimised the severity of her actions by saying other drag queens have also done it. Gross.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is streaming in Australia on Stan.
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