Friday, August 14, 2009

What! Wendy Doesn't Allow Drag Queens in Her Show's Audience? One Who Showed Up, Says No!

Ericka Toure Aviance, a NYC drag queen and long-time fan of Wendy, showed up for a taping of the queen's talk show on Wednesday wearing daytime drag (not what she's sporting in the above photo), but the producers weren't feeling it, singled her out, told her her "costume" was too over-the-top and warned her that if she attempts to appear on camera, she will be 86ed from the building.

Now, she's mad and is going national with her story. Ericka tells the Advocate:
“I decided to get dressed for Wendy because I thought she’d appreciate it,” says Aviance, a fixture of New York City nightlife for the last decade. “It wasn’t anything outlandish: It was a black baby-doll dress, heels, tights, and standard makeup -- not even anything sparkly. It was very demure, especially for me.”

"While standing in line outside the studio Wednesday morning, the group was approached by a female intern who noted the fact that Aviance was a drag queen. “She took my name down, so we thought we were about to get VIP treatment,” Aviance recalls. “After another hour we got to the door, and there’s this little white man standing there giving us the eyeball. He gets in our way to prevent us from going in, and he says, ‘You’re in violation of our no-costumes dress code. We usually don’t do this, but we know you’ve been waiting out there for a while, so we’re going to let you in. But you can’t appear on camera, and if you get up for Hot Topics or try to ask Wendy a question, you’ll be removed from the building.’

“I said, ‘This is not a costume.’ And he said, ‘Well, it’s a costume to us.’ When Jonny asked him the reason behind the policy, he said, ‘We don’t want the show to turn into Let’s Make a Deal, where everyone comes in crazy costumes.’ I was like, ‘So you’re comparing me to a man in a gorilla suit?’

“It’s not like I was wearing a big purple wig,” Aviance continues. “I was wearing a ponytail piece and a bang piece. It was much less hair than Wendy was wearing and, p.s., much less hair than any of the other black women in the audience. There were big blond bouffants, lots of church makeup, party dresses, blue mohawks -- and I’m made to feel like some sort of clown? No, it definitely wasn’t about what I was wearing. It was because I was a man in a dress. For someone who appropriates so much gay culture, you’d think Wendy’s policies would be a little more celebratory of the community.”

"[Jonny McGovern, star of Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show who was with Ericka] adds, "It was shady. We all thought Wendy would get a kick out of it.” He immediately complained about the incident on his Facebook page.

"Aviance claims that, once seated, another staffer approached them to rearrange the seating so that Aviance was moved away from the aisle and against the perimeter of the seating area. In the row ahead, a short woman and a tall man were then asked to switch seats so that the tall man blocked Aviance."

When asked for comment, Wendy's production company said, via, a statement:
“Producers at The Wendy Williams Show never intended to offend Ericka Toure Aviance, but the fact of the matter is that the show does request that audience members dress appropriately, not in costume-like attire. We certainly support the LGBTQ community and believe that personal style is a form of self-expression, as evidenced by our host Wendy Williams each and every day. But in this case, our staff was concerned that Ericka Toure’s attire was over-the-top and would be distracting to fans at home.”

This could get ugly. The gays are already fuming over this and Jonny has promised to keep hammering away at this new story until something - maybe an apology or an on-air acknowledgement - happens.


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Anonymous said...

How can she not let drag queens in her audience when her look has called the to her studio? Wendy needs to stop it! Wendy you are being the typical BLACK WOMAN. The girls get a little more money and fame and wanna think they are the next best thing. If you don't start getting some A-Listers on that knock off Tyra show of yours, you will be the next drag queen in somebody's audience.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think this has anything to do with Wendy Williams and EVERYTHING to do with the syndication and distribution policies of Lions Gate Entertainment - most of their distributed content is homophobic as well as racist (specifically the coon-like portrayals of black people). Her radio show format was VERY different and did NOT have such a policy. Television is a beast and a nasty game of politics. I don't think Mr. Aviance should take this personal, at least not from Wendy Williams. She's not Oprah, she's just starting out and has to "fall back" so to speak.

Anonymous said...

@ 2nd comment.... What you are saying is BULLSH*T! From what I see in Wendy's audience, A drag queen would fit right in. Her audeince memebers look a H.A.M. (Hot A** Mess). Wendy can give the approval to be on TV or not. That was foul and that was wrong. Consider that DISCRIMINATION. That is apart of being gay. If she cannot accept drags in her audience, then the gay community needs to stop going to her show. NEXT!

Kris Avalon said...

Now that's some straight up bullshit right there. I could have sworn there were two black girls who were models/fashion designers who got up during HotTopics a few weeks ago looking like Hello Kitty and Rainbow Brite threw up all over them. Wendy got a kick out of their outfits, but why didn't the producers get on them? If this is true Wendy, and I am a big fan of Johnny McGovern (who I did see in your audience a few weeks ago) and Erika's, so if your people are throwing shade at the gays (who is about 85% of your audience, you may want to look back into getting your radio job, because with the power of the rainbow coalition, your talk show may not last too long. Now in Wendy's defense, people who aren't familiar with television has to learn that even though she is executive producer of her show, The Wendy Williams show is a new program and right now the powers that be are only thinking about politics and numbers. After all, her show is on FOX. She may have control of her show, but Wendy doesn't have 100% control. I really don't believe this is all Wendy's fault (if not at all), so I would say cut her some slack. Execs are all abunch of tight-wad nervous pansies who are always worrying about the top dollar. I'm sure once her show is truly established, Wendy will have all the outrageous guests gabbing it up on Hot Topics.

Anonymous said...

@ Kris Avalon... I understand what you are saying, HOWEVER it is still wrong and Wendy is to blame. A inside source I know interned for her and told me how she and Charlamagne (HOMOTHUG) would cackle on the gays off the mic and then get on mic and act like she is the leader walking with a pink flag. All I am saying is that it's unfair and unhumane to do what they did. How can they throw a drag queen out and Wendy looks like one? No pun, but only expect to receive what you put out.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wendy really needs to make up her mind about how this show is going to be. She has watered herself down so much in the past year for this show that it is loosing it's appeal. And I have to cosign about those two girls that came up there looking like they were from the circus, THOSE were costumes and nobody cared. Wendy must know that half the gay community already thinks she is exploits homosexuals, thats why she is just getting a ligit talkshow when in reality she should have had this 10 years ago. I still think daytime is ill suited for her, and her real fans will get bored with this show within a year. THEN she will have a show full of drag queens. Thanks Wendyista for the exclusive, we need to know what's REALLY good!

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