This weekend, a lot of tea was spilled on the Drag Race Twittersphere. If you follow some favourites, like Bob the Drag Queen, or Monet X Change, you may have seen some vague callout posts against a production company called Murray and Peter, or M&P for short.
Currently, many queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race are on a tour called the Hater’s Roast: Shady Tour. It’s a roast where each queen gets to roast the others like they’re potatoes covered in rosemary butter. It’s amazing, especially because I just went to one of the shows in Seattle. I saw the most recent inductees into the Drag Race Hall of Fame, Trinity the Tuck and Monet X Change. I thought that the best roasters were Willam and Ben Dela Crème, though I was a few G&Ts deep by the time we got to their respective sets.
The drama for this year’s tour started when Ginger Minj was forced to drop out due to a scheduling conflict, a decision which she made very clear in an Instagram post was not her choice. She was booked for “a major film or TV opportunity” and although that only conflicted with 9 shows, she was cancelled for all 40.
As the tour continued, performers and staff started dropping like flies including Jackie Beat and CeeJay, Ginger’s husband who was fired for a family emergency (Ginger’s grandma dying). This week, Monet X Change was fired from the tour as well. Monet had to cancel an upcoming appearance on the tour after getting an offer to work with Madonna on her new music video. Murray and Peter, who organize the Hater’s Roast, posted a highly unprofessional and supremely petty Instagram post, calling Monet out for her actions in extreme detail.
Side note: Although it does seem like Monet cancelling last minute makes her the villain of this story, consider the following: A) Drag Queens have other obligations come up all the time – it’s how they further their career and make coin. People cancel and leaving for major film and TV opportunities are built into the queens’ contracts. B) there should be a clause in every single contract where if Madonna asks you to work on her project, you get an automatic out. Who says no to Madonna?
The queens think you’re trash, the fans think you’re trash, and at this point...your reputation precedes ANYTHING I could ever say. May the Lord be with you 🖤.— Monét X Change (@monetxchange) March 1, 2019
Monet vague posted about the incident on Twitter, which prompted several other queens to share their stories of how sh-tty M&P have been to them and their fans. Notoriously, M&P’s meet-and-greets have been overpriced and incredibly rushed, and they force attendees to buy merch and spend money at any given opportunity. They have cancelled on queens, shamed others who had to cancel on social media, and even contractually prevented some queens from performing for charitable causes.
Citing poor management and inappropriate behaviour to other queens, Trinity the Tuck quit in solidarity. (That’s 4 performers now by the way.) I’ve commented on Trinity throughout All Stars, but that girl has got a strong moral compass and a clear sense of her ethical duty. I admire and respect her a lot for that.
I want to start this post off by thanking all the fans for your support! If it wasn’t for all of you there wouldn’t be us! I am very grateful for the position I am in and the blessings I have been given! THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/HlVJEDPoA0— Trinity The Tuck (@TrinityTheTuck) March 3, 2019
This problem with M&P isn’t new, yet it’s something that a lot of people (including me) didn’t know about until very recently. Two years ago, they posted text conversations between them and Alyssa Edwards after she had to cancel a few shows, and a year ago, Katya shared that they had cancelled her and called her a meth-addled monster for refusing to answer probing and personal questions as the host of a tour. Plus, one sent her and other performers unsolicited dick pics. (Why do people think sending dicks to people is an acceptable or desirable “move”? Dicks are objectively gross-looking, especially when you don’t ask for them.)
While many queens have been incredibly critical of M&P, others like Darienne Lake (who replaced Ginger Minj after she was fired) have expressed support for the agency. Apparently, in shows after all this went down, queens like Monet were a topic of scorn and ridicule, and Miz Cracker spent like five minutes talking about how much she loved M&P. Messy. It’s almost like we’re witnessing the Captain America: Civil War – Drag Race edition. While there are two sides to every story, let’s not forget who’s paying the bills of the queens still currently on the Hater’s Roast tour. If you have 40 tour dates booked and a guaranteed income from those bookings, would you piss off the organizers for the sake of defending other queens?
Supporting M&P is an interesting choice, one that Trinity addressed. In another tweet, she stated that while quitting was the right choice for her, she doesn’t judge others for staying on, like Jinx Monsoon who claimed to stay for her fans. I think Trinity is being nice here, because that’s bullsh-t. The power of calling out sh-tty people in the industry (much like the #MeToo movement) comes from solidarity and support. Jinx won Season 5 of Drag Race. She could easily rebook most of these dates to make it up to her fans, and fans could request a refund for their tickets.
It’s important to remember that being a drag queen is hard, and that fame and notoriety (see Shangela on the red carpet of the Oscars) have only been achieved recently. Until now, they’ve had to take what they can get, and play shows to a dedicated, but niche, fanbase. In many cases, working with organizers like M&P has been the only option. As Drag becomes more mainstream, it’s the performers who are starting to have the power to say no thanks to production companies like M&P. Instead, let’s support local queens, and hope that Bob’s plan comes true in the near future.
Dear queens. It's time that we do our own tour. Each girl on the tour is a producer and makes money from the sales. Not a flat rate. I'm done with these shady production companies using us and spitting us out.— Bob The Drag Queen (@thatonequeen) March 3, 2019