In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Shangela was charged for allegedly raping a former HBO production assistant.
Daniel McGarrigle filed a lawsuit against the drag queen, who also appears on the popular HBO series “We’re Here,” alleging that the alleged assault happened in February 2020 after a drunken crew party.
McGarrigle, 39, claims in court docs obtained by Deadline and seen by Page Six that Shangela, whose actual name is Darius Jeremy Pierce, raped him in a hotel room in Louisiana.
In his lawsuit, McGarrigle claims that the drag queen, who is also his boss, forced him to consume five shots and two mixed cocktails at the crew party before asking him to a hotel to assist him with packing for a travel the next day.
The lawsuit states that McGarrigle alleges Pierce urged him stay the night and that he “immediately threw up in the toilet” as a result. Following McGarrigle’s alleged attack, she was still fully clothed in Pierce’s hotel room.
During the claimed attack, he allegedly cried “no” and attempted to fight, but “felt extremely weak,” according to the lawsuit.
Pierce allegedly told McGarrigle, “I know you want it, and you’re going to take it,” as he started to feel disoriented and overtaken with terror, according to McGarrigle.
Because he was “fearful of losing his job,” McGarrigle says he “did not immediately report the sexual assault to the authorities or to Buckingham TV.”
Before leaving his position in 2021, he “tried to maintain a cordial relationship with Pierce,” he continues.
The 42-year-old Pierce referred to the former HBO employee’s claims as “entirely meritless,” claiming that they “perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community.”
In a statement to Deadline, Shangela stated, “I can’t even begin to describe how saddened and disgusted I am by these utterly baseless charges.
“This latest filing is nothing more than a ruse to extort money from myself and a reputable television company. Nobody should fall for it since it lacks a legal or factual foundation and will fail.
McGarrigle is suing the drag racer and Buckingham Television, the show’s production company, for undisclosed damages for sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender violence, false imprisonment, and negligence.
“Buckingham and HBO take the safety and well-being of personnel on our shows very seriously, and Buckingham immediately launched an investigation [when the incident was reported to them in July 2021,” a representative for HBO’s “We’re Here” said in a statement provided to Deadline.
The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations. However, there have been no comment from either party or their representative.
During the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2010, Pierce made his acting debut as Shangela. Pierce made it to the top five in season 3 of Shangela after being removed in the first episode and going on to become a well-known drag performer.