Tamron Hall has responded to the backlash she received online for conducting an interview with disgraced RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Sherry Pie on Tuesday.
Joey Gugliemelli, known as Sherry Pie on the US reality show, was disqualified from the show after it was revealed he had posed as a casting director and asked the men to record themselves.
Speaking to the camera before the interview, Hall reacted to criticism she had faced for ‘giving Sherry Pie a platform’.
The journalist stated: ‘The very idea that I would have Sherry Pie on, a former contestant on a very popular reality show who was kicked off after multiple men came forward with proof of sexual predatory behavior, was seen by some as giving away my platform and that’s what I want to address.
‘I have been a reporter 30 years and I’ve conducted and I’ve watched interviews with people who have done very bad things. I’ve interviewed rapists and murderers. It’s not giving away your platform, it’s called an interview. People who do bad things are interviewed.’
Citing singer R. Kelly as a recent example of a controversial figure being interviewed, she continued: ‘It was implied by some that I wouldn’t sit down with R Kelly or other big names accused of reprehensible things.
‘I’ve been open over the years about my sister who was murdered. And I would even be willing to interview the person who allegedly killed her because I’ve learned a lot about domestic violence from not only the many victims I spent time with but the perpetrators too.’
She added: ‘We believe the men who’ve on record about Sherry Pie. We believe in being fair and we don’t give free passes. I don’t give free passes.’
Hall insisted that the interview had no conditions and would not be used to promote anything that would be seen as helping Sherry Pie make a profit.
She concluded: ‘Sherry Pie agreed to an interview. No conditions. We’ve offered no opportunity to promote a book, a podcast, anything that could be seen as profiting. This interview is what we say every day on this show: Let’s talk about it. And that’s what we’re going to do.’
Ben Shimkus, one of Gugliemelli’s many victims, made it clear that the group’s efforts to get the interview canceled were not listened to.
‘Just so we are all clear on this, I spoke with producers at @TamronHallShow and told them that I and the 20 victims that I spoke to today DO NOT want them to air a segment with Sherry Pie,’ he wrote. ‘They’re going to air it despite the all of our requests.’
Jackie Cox, a drag queen who competed against Sherry Pie in Season 12, was among those who challenged the interview, posting this four-part tweet ahead of the broadcast.
She stated: ‘I am publicly calling on @TamronHallShow to reconsider giving Sherry Pie access to the platform of national television to tell their side of the story without first speaking with the victims of her abuses and allowing them to weigh in on their own trauma.’
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