wendy williams drag race

Why is Wendy Williams Hosting the ‘Drag Race’ Viewing Party for VH1?

When more than 1 million people turned on the television to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on Friday night, many viewers in the LGBTQ community were disappointed to see Wendy Williams hosting the live viewing party on VH1.

At the viewing party I attended in New York City, the drag queen host muted the sound, asking, “Why the fuck do we care what she has to say?”

Many are agreeing with her, echoing these sentiments on social media since the premiere.

Stephanie Stone, a New York based drag performer, writes:

Detox, a former Drag Race All-Star, applauds Stone’s sentiments, sharing Stone’s status on her own Instagram:

We reached out to the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars season 2 to get her take on the controversy.

Here’s what Alaska Thunderfuck told us exclusively:

Frankly, I think the decision to make Wendy Williams one of the hosts of the weekly spots framing commercial breaks for RuPaul’s Drag Race’s weekly broadcast is tone deaf, untimely and incorrect.

I used to watch Wendy’s “Hot Topics” daily, and some of the things she said during Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition were beyond questionable.

At that time, much of the nation was learning to navigate trans visibility for the first time and needed guidance and clarity from the media. But instead Wendy repeatedly spouted ignorance and transphobic rhetoric to a daily audience of millions.

I don’t watch her show anymore.

And I certainly don’t think she is the right person to be hosting our community’s flagship television program.

I think it’s good for Drag Race to be moving toward the mainstream. I’m grateful for the move to VH1. I’m glad that one million people watched the first episode of Season 9. Our message is one of love and acceptance and truth and strength and perseverance, and I believe it should reach everyone, near and far.

But I also believe we need to remember who we are. And remember that it is we who built this. We need to be vigilant and respectful when choosing the shepherds into whose hands we’re putting ourselves. We need to be wary of people hitching themselves to the wildly successful Drag Race wagon for monetary gain — especially if they can’t even name the winners of season 1, 2 and 3 in order.

And I’m not the only one who feels this way.

What do you think? And if VH1 does fire Wendy Williams, who should replace her?

  • TattooHero

    Her hiring shows VH1 doesn’t get it.

  • Glibby G. Glooby

    DITCH HER. One of the RPDR Alum with proven commentary skills (Raja, Alaska, Katya, Trixie, Pandora Box, Latrice, etc.) would be a FAR better choice. Or maybe Lady Bunny? Or Johnny McGovern from HEY Qween! He obviously has the skills and background. There are so many choices, which is what makes the WW choice so very perplexing. All can be fixed though. It is definitely not too late.

  • Hazel Bishop

    she should be fired. watching her transphobic retoric is just awful and wrong

  • Steven Austin

    Honestly, I am not of the opinion that drag and trans are the same thing. So, even if she were being “transphobic,” (which I don’t totally buy)… that doesn’t seem enough to say that she is unfit for drag competition show… Also, giving commentary isn’t the same as being a judge on the show. I just wanna be fair. I never saw trans as equal to drag. Similar, but not the same.

    I would love to have some quotes or videotape of these comments that folks are finding “offensive.” I do think it is possible that people are being a little hard on her, based on their previous interpretations of her previous incarnations. So, not to jump to the instant defense of Wendy, but I just would like a fair assessment.

  • Matt P

    I watch The Wendy Williams Show every day & while she may have made a stupid comment about Caitlyn’s transition once, she’s also said a lot of supportive things about the trans community & the LGBT community as a whole. But no one retweets those so I guess they don’t exist to outrage police.

    I think there are far worse enemies to the LGBT community than Wendy Williams, who says stupid things on a daily basis. I mean, she made a tone deaf comment about HBCUs this past year but quickly apologized & had a discussion about it on her show. But no one would accuse her of being an enemy to the black community.

    I’ll stand by the fact that Wendy Williams is stupid, but not transphobic or anti-gay. And trust me. I’ve watched many, many hours of her show.

  • Joe Stevens

    Maybe Because she looks and acts like a Drag Queen.

  • Matt P

    Comments like these are worse than anything Wendy has been accused of saying. You’re not helping.

  • Sable’s Bumps

    Wendy reminds me of my mother. Someone with old school values who grew up in a very different time, but is open minded enough to be able to change. Maybe it just took her longer to get it?

  • Hata H. Zappa

    I think what bothers me about the choice of Wendy Williams is that Wendy is *cough* not a drag queen *cough* – I’m of the mind that you have to always let a drag queen host a show about other drag queens.

  • robingee

    Not helpful.

  • pangelboy

    Fire her unless she apologizes for her transphobic and homophobic past behavior and remarks.

  • helleuw

    Huh?

  • LittleBrittle

    S/he’s saying that VH1 is indicating that they don’t “get it” by hiring Wendy Williams.

  • Quagmire Larson

    In the LGBTQ community, we stand together. I watched the specific Hot Topics segments that Alaska was referring to and, yes, Wendy Williams was being quite transphobic. So, even though drag and transgenderism are two totally different things, I don’t stand behind an unapologetic, transphobic woman just looking for a laugh, a check, and the limelight. No thank you.

  • Tracy Buss

    I agree with you. We all as members of the community need to support one another and not allow blatant transphobia to be accepted as okay. I honestly had no idea about Wendy William’s transphobic history until reading this article. A simple google search of her name and the word “transphobia” pulls up quite a few articles, not all of which lead back to her comments about Caitlyn Jenner. For anyone curious about her remarks, you can find them fairly easily.
    I’m a big believer in giving people second chances and allowing them to grow when they make mistakes, however, I don’t think it’s appropriate to chose her as a host for a pro LGBTQIA+ show when she has a history of being anti LGBTQIA+.

    I think there should also be a point made that trans people can and ARE drag performers! In fact, we’ve seen some of them on Drag Race.
    Bianca aka Jiggly Caliente is a trans woman, although she was not public about it on the show, she had began her transition before being cast. There are more past trans contestants of course (Carmen Carrera, Monica Beverly Hills, ect ect). I think that their safety and identities should be respected and VH1 picking Wendy as a host is a slap in the face to trans fans, performers, cast members, and trans people in general.

  • Sivle Sanchez Reyes

    Whoopi Goldberg! ALL THE WAY!

  • helleuw

    I see what you’re saying but it’s a viewing party.

  • helleuw

    Thank you.

  • Charlene Sands

    I agree with you in that people can grow, learn and change etc — especially if they are from a different generation. However, WW is a public role model, I feel that if her stance has changed drastically some sort of public declaration and acknowledgement of said change would be necessary in order to accept her as an ally. She’s said some awful things and to not retract them and make some sort of amends to the community she is currently profiting from is truly reprehensible. If she could say such hurtful things in a public forum, she can apologize for them in a public forum. And honestly, that should only be the beginning of her becoming an ally.. with being in the current position for Drag Race being very, very far off (if anything) and for now the position should go to someone much more deserving.

  • Eve Summers

    1. There is a trans contestant on drag race this year.

    2. There have been trans contestants on drag race almost every season, who either came out on the show or after.

    3. The drag community is FULL of trans people and most of us queens watch the show.

    And finally, the LGBT community stands together. And we can’t allow someone who has said violently transphobic things to MILLIONS of people on television for YEARS host our biggest show.

  • Eve Summers

    She only apologizes when it becomes a controversey. Go look at her coverage of Hank Baskett’s affair with a transgender woman and the way she discussed that whole situation. It was disgusting and it went on for months. Then her entire coverage of Caitlyn Jenner where she repeatedly made “mistakes” when referring to her to get laughs from her audience. The amount of transphobic vitriol she spewed throughout the whole Caitlyn situation is absolutely disgusting.

  • Dirk Burnington

    I disagree with Johnny. Have you seen how much he talks over guests.

  • Drag queens are gay men who perform as women, Trans people are those whose gender doesn’t match the biological sex they were assigned.

    While these are obviously two different things, they are both part of the same community – the LGBTQ community. You come for one section of that community, the whole community steps up.

    Also. the lines between the drag community and the trans women community have always been a little blurred. There are several previous competitors in RuPaul’s drag race who have come out as trans women either during or since being on the show (Carmen Carrera, Sonique, Stacy Layne Matthews, Jiggly Caliente, Kenya Michaels, Monica Beverly Hillz and the current season 9 queen Pepper Mint are all trans women). In the days before a lot of the rights we enjoy now, that line was often even more blurred – watch Paris is Burning for an idea of how intertwined Drag and Trans have been in the past.

  • Micah Volt

    This is the main reason I couldn’t watch the TV, so many things changed and in a bad way. VH1 RUINED DRAG RACE …

  • moomyrus

    Wendy Williams will do anything and say anything or sell anything to improve her brand. Awful person.

  • shocking_alberto

    Bianca Del Rio should be the host.

  • Quagmire Larson

    You don’t get to be as unapologetically problematic as Wendy Williams and just get a pass from this community. We live in a society where continunuing to overlook and normalize rhetoric like hers is LITERALLY a danger to our community. I know trans people and drag entertainers alike that have suffered violent acts for simply being who they are in public. So to insinuate that Wendy’s positive comments should overshadow the negative is an irresponsible and insensitive claim that is not really supportive of the entire community. You can’t be supportive of gays and willfully ignorant of trans issues and be considered an ally of the LGBTQ community. It doesn’t work that way.

  • Oliver

    This move ignores past hurt and is designed to bring in the unconverted of the Wendy audience to boost Drag Race’s ratings and scope. This move is not for the gays; it’s for the straights.

  • Sable’s Bumps

    ok yea i agree with that, if she did change that much she shouldve at least apologized. ive always wanted to like her, but even i threw a side eye when i heard wendy williams was hosting anything drag race related. i know she made some comments in the past that seemed bigoted/ignorant, but in the past year she seemed to have changed. probably because of the gig lol.

  • Hata H. Zappa

    But the viewing parties are always hosted by drag queens. Keep it in the family.

  • Rein

    I’m glad our community are finally standing up for themselves. Wendy is toxic cancer and she’s done nothing but make homophobic remarks in the past. Very happy that Detox and Alaska spoke about it as well.

  • Mefisto

    And then why does Alaska do the “Aftershow”, a segment on youtube modeled after what Wendy Williams does if he doesn’t agree with her views? It seams that he, like Wendy Williams, although often says the right things, still puts profit ahead of morals and dignity on his priority list. We had the opportunity to see that in other instances as well.

  • Troy Allen Engstrom

    Not all drag Queens are gay.

  • Johnny Burgess

    I don’t understand why we can’t just have the show aired without the commentary… or just have Ross there.

  • Dennis Gray

    Let me host it, it would be a blast, and I could serve realness. We need more common everyday folks, not always celebrities. Mama Ru is a much larger celebrity than Wendy Williams, hell every winner of the show is a bigger celebrity. I use to watch Wendy Williams all the time, then her transphobic mouth, and thoughts started. I stopped watching her, I just can’t stand the ignorance. So yeah put me on as host, definitely would be a great show.

  • You are absolutely right to call me out on that – not only are there straight queens, but the queens I specifically list such as Jiggly Caliente, Sonique, Carmen Carerra are obviously not gay men since they are trans women.

    However, I would argue that drag is and always should be owned by the LGBTQ+ culture and even straight queens have to be part of that culture – drag is ours and if you’re going to be part of it, you better at least be the staunchest ally you can be.

  • Lara

    Yeah, if she’s changed then there should have been something before she just showed up as host on the first episode, an apology, a half-hour show where she talks about what changed her and how it came about, something so she didn’t just show up as on off-putting face-slap out of nowhere.

  • DesLivres

    James st James. So intelligent, caustic and funny.

  • Matt P

    What were the “violently transphobic things” Wendy Williams had said on television? I’m genuinely curious. I know she misspoke in the past but I wouldn’t consider her comments to be violent. I mean, it’s not like she’s Keith Ablow or Sally Kern, who I consider to be actual transphobic enemies.

  • DWS

    It’s all up to Ru. If he likes Wendy he doesn’t care if you do or not. Ru does what he wants.

  • Matt P

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    I recall the Hank Baskett thing but probably didn’t pay close attention b/c I have no idea who he or Kendra is. But I will say, I still chalk that up to Wendy being stupid. And perhaps trying to milk a few laughs, like the Bruce/Caitlyn thing. (I do actually recall her making positive comments about Caitlyn’s transition, and stressing the differences between trans people & crossdressers, which her audience may not have been aware of.)

    I think Wendy just misspeaks often b/c she is, frankly, an idiot. But I don’t think there is hate in her heart. I mean, I recall Bianca Del Rio making insensitive jokes about Carmen Carrera but I wouldn’t call Bianca transphobic.

    I don’t mean to defend Wendy so much as a Drag Race viewing party host (b/c I think it’s a slightly odd choice), but I wouldn’t go so far as to call her “an enemy to the LGBT community.” I think that’s taking it too far. She’s dumb but I think she’s trying. It’s important to call her out on shit & it’s important that she learns from her ignorance. I think she’s capable of getting better. I don’t think we should be so quick to stone her & cast her out. That’s not doing any good. We need our allies & sometimes they need to be given a chance to learn.

  • Not to mention she called Nina, “the mouse”, not even “the queen dressed up as a mouse” just, “the mouse” plus Ross looked so uncomfortable lol why can’t past queens host this?

  • Mark Warneke

    Why replace her? Make Ross the centerpiece of the viewing party. He’s more than capable of carrying the show.

  • marcalvr

    Not just wendy, but the totally ratchet disconnected crowd on the sidelines as well

  • Tarina Banks

    I thought she was a man. Did She grow up a girl

  • donna

    The question should be WHY HAVE A “VIEWING PARTY” in the first place? It’s boring, & it takes time away from the show!

  • Steven Austin

    I hear the point you are making, but suffice to say, I know for a fact the “community” don’t stick together… but I’m not making this a conversation about race; that’s not the discussion. Anyway, if you want her off, write to World of Wonder. There were many discussions before they decided to put her on.

  • Liland’ra

    Exactly! Also On her radio show one of the intros was a man talking about how his “brother” is now a woman and her shocked reaction to it (with dramatic sound effects). Not to mention that she made it her MISSION to harass NYC DJ Mr. Cee for sleeping with transgender women. Wendy is an enemy of the trans community and USES gays and gay culture for her self aggrandizement.

  • Liland’ra

    She’s been making transphobic “mistakes” for about 30 years now according to you.

  • Liland’ra

    She’s misgendered Caitlyn Jenner repeatedly for laughs, She has openly stated that she can’t date a man who has been with a trans woman, and she lead the witch hunt against Mr. Cee for having sex with trans women, ext, ext. She ADDS to the climate of violent transphobia that literally takes the lives of DOZENS of black trans women each year. DUMP WENDY NOW!!!

  • Liland’ra

    Knowing Ru, He will keep wendell on to SPITE the trans community. He’s had a lot of ignorant shit to say about trans women in the past as well. I just hope someone on the show confronts wendy and exposes how transphobic she is.

  • bbinsf

    Ross and a rotating Drag Race star would be great

  • donna

    BeBe, Tyra, & Raja! 😂😂😂 AND IN THAT ORDER! 😂😂😂😂