I think we have all met Shangela somewhere in the world. I know I have in about four places between Montreal and Salt Lake City. Known from her beginnings on RuPaul’s Drag Race, her touring and performing all over and her co-host spot on the HBO docuseries We’re Here. And don’t forget her epic performances on Dancing With the Stars. But soon, we may know her from the courtroom, but this won’t me a made for tv movie special and no acting will be performed.
Shangela, also known as Darius Jeremy “DJ” Pierce, is being sued by a former production assistant from We’re Here. The plaintiff says he was raped by the star after a wrap party in February 2020. The actor and defendant denies the allegations.
Deadline has a copy of the nine-page filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, in it, the plaintiff Daniel McGarrigle alleges that Shangela bought him multiple alcoholic drinks during the gathering. Shangela then asked McGarrigle to go back to Shangela’s hotel to help him pack for a flight the next morning.
According to the lawsuit, McGarrigle — who says he “did not drink often” — began vomiting at the hotel, and Pierce suggested he lie down on the bed.
At some point, according to the civil suit, McGarrigle awoke and “felt Pierce on the lower half of his body,” committing or attempting to commit sex acts. The plaintiff alleges that he screamed “No!” but “felt extremely weak” and said “fear overcame him during the sexual assault,” which he said included penetration. According to the suit, “Pierce was aggressive physically and verbally, telling McGarrigle, ‘I know you want it, and you’re going to take it.’” – Deadline
McGarrigle says that Shangela had always been flirty, touchy, and inappropriate but just took it in stride and did not report this incident in fear of losing his job. McGarrigle did eventually resign in July 2021. The incident was in February of 2020.
In a statement to EW, Pierce said he was “disgusted” by the “totally untrue allegations” and that he intends to defend himself.
“They are personally offensive and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that are harmful not only to me but also to my entire community. An external investigation into this embittered individual’s claims previously concluded that they were completely without merit. This newest filing is nothing but an attempt to shake down both me and a well-regarded television company. No one should be fooled: It has no basis in fact or in law, and it will not succeed.”
“As a hardworking and outspoken drag entertainer for more than a decade, I know that I am far from alone in battling ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice, all of which played a role in the filing of this complaint. That is why I will fight this entirely meritless lawsuit and not allow it to destroy me and those I love, or harm the causes we all stand for.” – EW
Buckingham Television, which produces HBO’s We’re Here, also is named as a defendant in the suit, which claims “failure to prevent sexual assault” along with allegations against Pierce of sexual assault, gender violence, false imprisonment and sexual harassment.
A representative for We’re Here said in a statement:
“Buckingham Television, the production company for We’re Here, received a complaint late summer 2021 regarding an incident that was alleged to have occurred in early 2020. Buckingham and HBO take the safety and well-being of personnel on our shows very seriously, and Buckingham immediately launched an investigation. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations.”
We shall see where these allegations land. We wish the best results for all involved and hope truth will prevail.