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Five more people accuse Shangela of sexual assault

DJ Pierce, aka Shangela
DJ Pierce, aka Shangela Photo: Shutterstock

RuPaul’s Drag Race and We’re Here alum Shangela has been accused of sexual assault by five people — all of whom expressed concern that their allegations would be misused to bolster anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-drag narratives coming from Republican politicians and right-wing media figures.

The allegations come over a month after lawyers for Darius Jeremy “DJ” Pierce, the actor and drag performer known professionally as Shangela, and Buckingham Television, the production company behind We’re Here, settled a lawsuit brought by a former production assistant on the HBO reality series. Daniel McGarrigle alleged that Pierce raped him in a Louisiana hotel room in 2020 after attending a party at which Pierce bought him several rounds of drinks. McGarrigle claimed that he accompanied Pierce to his hotel room, where McGarrigle vomited before passing out fully clothed, only to wake up with his pants pulled down and Pierce allegedly sexually assaulting him.

In a report published by Rolling Stone on Monday, five more adults who identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community alleged that Pierce either sexually assaulted or tried to engage in sex with them while they were too intoxicated to consent. All of the alleged victims were between the ages of 18 and 23 at the time of the alleged assaults, which occurred between 2012 and 2018.

Through a representative, Pierce denied all the allegations.

Many of the allegations in Rolling Stone’s report echo those made by McGarrigle.

RoyLee Soliz told the magazine that after meeting Pierce following a performance at Texas A&M University at Kingsville in April 2012, they accompanied Pierce to his hotel room where they continued to drink together. Soliz said they passed out, waking up later to find Pierce attempting to insert his penis in their mouth. Through his representative, Pierce said he does not recall ever meeting Soliz.

Another accuser, Zachary, a part-time drag queen who was only identified by his first name, claimed that after meeting Pierce following a 2015 performance at Southern Decadence in New Orleans, Pierce supplied him with drinks until he blacked out. Zachary alleges that he came to and found Pierce and another unidentified man trying to penetrate him.

“I heard Shangela say, ‘Stick it in him,’ and I quickly said, ‘No,’” Zachary said. “I am pretty sure that [the unidentified man] didn’t do anything, but I passed out again, so I am not positive.”

Pierce’s lawyer said that the Drag Race star and Zachary “engaged in consensual sexual acts before falling asleep.”

Two other accusers made similar accusations, dating their alleged encounters with Pierce to 2017. Helmer, who also asked to be identified only by his first name, filed a police report about the alleged 2017 assault last June after reading about McGarrigle’s lawsuit.

A fifth accuser, Edward Ramirez, initially posted his allegations online in September 2018, days after he says Pierce shoved him to the floor in a walk-in closet in an apartment in Texas and tried to penetrate him. “I’m very confident I was clear with my ‘nos.’ I was declining advances,” Ramirez told Rolling Stone. “He still kept trying anyway.” 

Pierce’s lawyer provided statements from witnesses to refute several of the allegations.

According to Rolling Stone, all five accusers spoke out against recent laws targeting drag performers in Republican-led states across the country and said that while the current climate had weighed on their decisions to come forward, Pierce should be held accountable for his alleged actions.  

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