Explained: The heated drama between the Drag Race fandom and The Real Friends of WeHo

‘We worked too hard and invested too much money for a 45 minute edit’

There’s a l0t of drama erupting in the online Drag Race community and wider queer Twitter circles that’s been brewing for the last few weeks but really erupted over the weekend – and it’s all to do with the new Todrick Hall starring MTV show The Real Friends of WeHo. If you’ve seen bits of this drama but aren’t sure what’s actually happened, I’ve got you covered – here’s the full drama between Drag Race fans and queens and the Todrick Hall Real Friends of WeHo show fully explained.

Drag Race moves to MTV

So, for Drag Race season 15, the show has moved to its new home of MTV. When Drag Race first premiered, it debuted on Logo TV – a small queer centric channel. As the show grew, it moved to VH1 in 2016 and stayed there until this year when the show announced it would be moving to MTV.

Since season 10, Drag Race viewers have had full, hour length episodes when the show runs with no adverts. This has helped the show showcase more of the queens conversations, more critiques, longer runways and just generally give the episodes more breathing space.

All international franchises of the show, such as Canada or UK, all have episodes that run at one hour without ads. It’s the general consensus that this way is a lot better, especially with fans.

The Real Friends of WeHo

Here’s where The Real Friends of WeHo comes in. WeHo stands for West Hollywood, and the show follows the Real Housewives model except it features an all-gay male cast and centres on their boujie lives in Hollywood. The big two names in the cast are Brad Goreski, who is a judge on Canada’s Drag Race and the polarising Todrick Hall, a singer and dancer who made a name for himself by making annoying parody sketches of things millennials might find amusing.

The others are Dorian Renaud, the CEO of Buttah Skin, Curtis Hamilton from the TV show Insecure and Jaymes Vaughan – the husband of Jonathan Bennett and an “influencer”. It’s basically a show about their rich lives in Hollywood.

The drama

Season 15 of Drag Race on Friday nights on MTV now has episodes that run at 40 mins, one hour with ads. Why? Because MTV has scheduled The Real Friends of WeHo on straight after, with Untucked then airing after that. It’s a way to try and get the huge amount of viewers for Drag Race to tune into the new show and keep ratings high.

The issue is, the queens of Drag Race are not happy that they are getting their season cut down so much in comparison to all the others that have come since season 10, including a lot of All Stars seasons – and they’re being vocal about this online.

Salina EsTitties, who’s competing on season 15, opposed the shorter edit and said “We worked too hard and invested too much money for a 45 minute edit. I say this as a viewer and fan of the show. I just wanted to see more of the gals.”

There’s been immense pushback against the show building up to the premiere on Friday.

Todrick Hall’s response

Writing on Instagram, Todrick said on the backlash “When our LGBTQ+ show was announced you’d think any pushback would’ve come from the church or conservative upset with three hours of queer programming on a major network. But a closer look would show you that the call was coming from inside the house.

“We fight for acceptance yet we don’t accept our own. We fight for representation then fight against it when we get it, because it doesn’t come in the form we’d hoped.”

Some famous artists in the queer community, like Drag Race alum Kerri Colby, Sonique and Laganja Estranja, commented their support for Todrick – but his post was met with backlash on Twitter. One wrote “Sorry, but what is groundbreaking abut cutting Drag Race of all things short to watch you, the dreadful Todrick Hall, mince around WeHo with your rich mates?”

The big issue here is that the people in The Real Friends of WeHo are all already rich and successful – we are in a cost of living crisis expected to support and enjoy no matter what the quality, just because it’s about gay men. There is further backlash over Todrick calling it an LGBTQ+ show when the series features exclusively gay men in its main cast.

The Real Friends of WeHo debuts on IMDb with 1.2/10

On its debut, videos of clubs turning the show off went viral and the ratings plummeted to an appalling score of 1.2 on IMDb.

Todrick Hall’s second post

The Drag Race and Real Friends of WeHo drama continued after Todrick yesterday posted a second statement addressing the backlash.

“After last night’s premiere of The Real Friends of WeHo I saw a lot of comments saying ‘we don’t want to see a bunch of rich, fit, entitled, privileged gay men’ which begs the question, why are we thrilled to watch rich Kardashians or Real Housewives, but we only want to watch gays be underdogs, not well off, not too confident?”

Pardon me Todrick if I don’t get the violin out on that one.

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