RuPaul books controversy

Erm, you can buy anti-trans, far right books from RuPaul’s new online bookstore

Despite Allstora’s mission statement being to uplift ‘LGBTQ+ people, women and communities of colour’

RuPaul has just launched a much hyped new venture. Last week, the most famous drag queen in the world posted a video in front of a United States flag, telling fans to register on a new website with a logo that made everything look and feel like he was announcing a run for presidency. It was a red herring; the teasers were for the launch of a new online book selling service called Allstora – a “revolutionary, all-inclusive world of book lovers” that’s come just in time for the publication of RuPaul’s new memoir The House of Hidden Meanings. But this launch has been hit with controversy considering just what kind of books you can buy on Allstora, which includes those with ethos completely at odds from what RuPaul stands for.

In the Allstora FAQ, the site goes into detailing how they’re against a big rival company  “whose name rhymes with ‘Glamazon.’” It says that the equity for the money paid to authors will be better and fairer by doubling income. Allstora says it wants to uplift voices “of underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+ people, women, and communities of color.” You can navigate the site to categories such as “trans”, “Black” and other that link to the voices Allstora cites.


#stitch with @RuPaul #greenscreen i love rainbow capitalism! I love “founding a bookstore” (dropshipping operation)! I love profiting from banned books being in the news! Yasss mama ru!!!!! Get that coin honey!!!!! #rupaulsdragrace #werktherunway #yaaaas

♬ original sound – Bookends in Florence

A creator on TikTok who runs a lesbian bookstore criticised Allstora, explaining how despite the fact if you’re a £5 a month paid member of Allstora (which gives its members discounts), the book prices are extortionate. She gives an example of one book being $161.93 for general sale, $80.97 if you’re a member. She then shows how at other retails you can get the same book for around $30. In the UK, if you bought the book she uses as an example (An Archive of Feelings), you’d pay around £22 for it at Blackwell’s.

Not only has the new venture of RuPaul flogging books come under fire for the cost, but the type of books stocked has got Allstora wrapped up in controversy. Allstora stocks 10 million books. As of the time of publishing, you could go on to there service right now and buy controversial literature deemed transphobic and far-right. You can buy Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. You can buy Matt Walsh’s What is a Woman? – a book widely criticised as transphobic in nature and one written by an author who in my opinion as a gay man is absolutely homophobic. He once criticised Hollywood, schools and the media as recruiting children to be LGBT+.

Of course, this is all very much at odds with RuPaul and what he stands for – as quite literally the most famous drag queen in the world who platforms queer stories from gay, lesbian and transgender individuals across the globe. Ru’s former friend Lady Bunny blasted RuPaul on Instagram, stating it as “rainbow capitalism” – and the lesbian TikTok bookstore creator described Allstora as “a dropshipping operation with a kind of veneer of progressivity over it.”

Well, how has Allstora and RuPaul responded to the controversy over the books being purchased? Whilst RuPaul hasn’t addressed it, Allstora has a pop-up on the site saying “you might find books you disagree with”, continuing saying “We cannot fight the ideologies of hate if we lack the ability to study, understand, and react to them. We do that by reading books.”

On its FAQs, Allstora says “Allstora has made the decision to carry all books,” just like “university libraries and online book marketplaces across the world. Censorship of any book, perspective, or story is incompatible with the survival of democracy. Banning books is never the answer.”

Allstora also has a community-led system which will flag books its users think should not be sold.

The Tab has approached RuPaul for comment.

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