Shangela furiously denies crew member’s rape allegation


Shangela in an HBO promo photo for We're Here
Image: HBO

RuPaul’s Drag Race and We’re Here star Shangela has furiously denied multiple allegations — including an alleged rape — from a former crew member on the drag queen’s HBO show.

We’re Here premiered in 2020, and sees Shangela travel American towns alongside Drag Race sisters Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen.

Daniel McGarrigle was an assistant and driver to Shangela during the show’s first season, which filmed in 2019.

But the 39-year-old has sued the performer — whose real name Darius Jeremy “DJ” Pierce — and the show’s production company Buckingham Television.

He’s alleging sexual assault, false imprisonment, sexual harassment and negligence, and Buckingham’s alleged failure to prevent sexual harassment.

The suit alleges that Shangela raped McGarrigle in February 2020, after production wrapped on We’re Here’s Louisiana episode, EW reported.

He recalls that the cast and crew celebrated at a restaurant, where “Pierce was heavily flirtatious with McGarrigle and insisted on buying him drinks,” court documents state.

McGarrigle claimed Pierce asked him to come back to his hotel to help him pack for a flight. But the man became ill, prompting Pierce to suggest that he stay in his room and lie on his bed.

The man allegedly woke up to Pierce attempting to sexually assault him, claiming Pierce “overpowered” him in his “weak” state of inebriation.

McGarrigle claims in the suit he did not immediately report the incident out of fear of losing his job.

He said he “tried to maintain a cordial relationship with Pierce”. But he alleges the sexual harassment continued until he resigned from the HBO show in July 2021.

EW reported the man is now seeking punitive damages, “civil penalties allowable by law,” attorney fees, and court costs,

Shangela furiously denies rape allegation

Shangela has responded to the lawsuit in a statement to US media, denying the allegations.

“I can’t begin to explain how hurt and disgusted I am by these totally untrue allegations,” Shangela said.

“They are personally offensive and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community.

“An external investigation into this embittered individual’s claims previously concluded that they were completely without merit.

“This newest filing is nothing but an attempt to shake down both me and a well-regarded television company.

“No one should be fooled: It has no basis in fact or in law, and it will not succeed.”

The drag performer went on, “As a hardworking and outspoken drag entertainer for more than a decade, I know that I am far from alone in battling ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice, all of which played a role in the filing of this complaint.

“That is why I will fight this entirely meritless lawsuit and not allow it to destroy me and those I love, or harm the causes we all stand for.”

We’re Here producers Buckingham Television told EW they received a complaint in late summer 2021 about the alleged 2020 incident.

“Buckingham and HBO take the safety and well-being of personnel on our shows very seriously,” the company said. The companies “immediately launched an investigation” that “concluded there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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