On Wednesday, a former production assistant for HBO's We're Here filed a lawsuit against one of the show's star drag queens, accusing him of rape. Daniel McGarrigle alleged that Darius Jeremy Pierce, better known by his stage name, Shangela, sexually assaulted him while they were drunk during a crew party in 2020.
McGarrigle also named the show's production company in the suit, which claimed the incident also constituted gender violence, false imprisonment, and sexual harassment. Pierce, who rose to fame during his time on RuPaul's Drag Race, has denied the allegations, saying they have "no basis in fact or in law."
According to the Los Angeles Times, McGarrigle stated in the lawsuit that he felt unwell after a crew party in Ruston, Louisiana, and Pierce suggested he spend the night with him in his room. McGarrigle, who was drunk, claimed he fell asleep fully-clothed, and woke up with Pierce standing above him pouring a cold liquid believed to be a chemical compound used during sex, trying to penetrate him.
McGarrigle said that he shouted "no," and that despite his efforts to push Pierce off of him, he was too strong, and continued to assault him. He stated that despite persistent sexual harassment from Pierce in the months that followed, he kept the incident private out of fear of losing his job. Eventually, in 2022, he went public after seeing how Pierce was being celebrated as a queer icon.
Pierce said he was "hurt and disgusted" by the allegations, calling them "totally untrue."
"They are personally offensive and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community," he added. “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."
Pierce said the allegations reeked of "ignorance, bigotry and prejudice," and vowed to fight them in court.
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