The RuPaul’s Drag Race and We’re Here star Shangela has been accused of rape in a civil case.
Filed in Los Angeles, it alleges that Darius Jeremy ‘DJ’ Pierce, who goes by the name Shangela, raped a former We’re Here production assistant while filming the first season of the HBO show.
Daniel McGarrigle, 39, claims the encounter took place in a hotel room after an after-work party in Monroe, Louisiana in February 2020.
Pierce, 42, denied the allegations as “entirely without merit”.
McGarrigle is seeking unspecified damages from Pierce and the show’s production company, Buckingham Television.
Pierce competed on seasons two and three of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The suit alleges that Pierce bought and delivered five shots of alcohol and two mixed drinks to McGarrigle at the party, and asked McGarrigle to return to Pierce’s hotel to help him pack for an early flight.
She claims McGarrigle “immediately threw up in the bathroom” in the hotel room and Pierce allegedly later suggested McGarrigle spend the night in his room, saying, “If you want to lay in my bed until you feel better, you can.”
Suit says McGarrigle was ‘afraid of losing his job’
The lawsuit said McGarrigle agreed and passed out on Pierce’s bed fully clothed.
McGarrigle claims he woke up with his pants down and poppers pouring down the side of his face.
The lawsuit says McGarrigle then “felt Pierce on the lower half of his body, rubbing his penis against his buttocks, attempting to insert into his anus.”
McGarrigle claims he yelled “No!” and tried to push Pierce away. The suit claims that after the meeting, McGarrigle was “fearful of losing his job” and “did not immediately report the sexual assault to authorities or Buckingham TV” and tried to maintain a “cordial relationship with Pierce.”
McGarrigle stepped down in the summer of 2021, he added.
Pierce says allegations ‘perpetuate harmful stereotypes’
In a statement, Pierce said the allegations “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community.”
“This latest filing is nothing more than an attempt to shake up both me and a reputable TV company.
“No one should be deceived: it has no basis either in fact or in law and will not succeed.”
According to his attorney Daniel Gilleon, McGarrigle has been in contact with the Ruston Police Department in Louisiana about the alleged incident since December, but no charges have yet been filed.
A representative for We’re Here said the network and Buckingham Television received a complaint from McGarrigle in July 2021 regarding an incident reportedly occurring “in early 2020,” and added that Buckingham and HBO “take We take the safety and well-being of the staff on our exhibits very seriously”.
He added that Buckingham “immediately launched an investigation” which concluded that “there was not enough evidence to substantiate these allegations”.
We’re Here stars Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela, former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, who travel to small towns and cities across the United States, transforming locals into drag queens.