Since emerging as the breakout contestant of VH1’s 2006 reality dating show Flavor Of Love, Tiffany “New York” Pollard’s combination of sass and outspoken-ness quickly rocketed her to the top of the pop culture heap, making her an immediate fan favorite. She has parlayed her reality show fifteen minutes into her own reality dating show (the aptly titled I Love New York as well as subsequent spinoffs featuring Pollard). She was featured on Celebrity Big Brother as well as having small roles in films like Sharknado 5. Pollard’s outspoken and brash style has also been a favorite of the LGBT community, so much so that in 2016 she filmed and hosted a gay dating show (more on that later).
This week Pollard has found herself on the other side of the very vocal LGBT community. In the 13 December episode of reality show One Mo’ Chance, (a Zeus network show that documents rapper Kamal “Chance” Givens searching for love), Pollard pointedly attacked contestant Tiffany Walker over Walker’s gender identity. In a now viral clip, Pollard spoke to Walker (one of the final contestants) to see who would be the best fit for Givens. Pollard directly said to Walker (a cis woman) that she was not forthcoming, saying to her “You didn’t shed any light on the questions that I had and I feel like you have a situation, and I do believe that you are a man.” Walker somewhat confusingly said that she was not, to which Pollard said “Does it bother you when I tell you that I feel like you’re a man, that you have genitalia, like penis, and balls, and sweaty d**k? What does that do to you, does that f**k with you, at all?”
— KANDY MUSE (@TheKandyMuse) December 30, 2020
Response to the clip has needless to say, been swift. Calls for Pollard to apologize rolled in on social media, including from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 contestant Kandy Muse (Pollard also appeared as a guest judge on S11 of the Emmy-winning reality show competition). Pollard took to her Instagram to apologize, releasing a statement which many feel has made a bad situation exponentially worse. In the statement, she says in part:
“I love and respect everyone in the community. You guys always show up and show out for me. And the love is real. “You should know that, I want you to feel that way. Let’s just say that clip that was seen, the woman in the clip was not transgendered, OK? “I myself was born a woman and I always get mistaken as a man. Everywhere I go, the grocery store, the airport, I hear whispers: ‘That’s a man, that’s a guy, I know it.’” Pollard went on to say that her anti-trans comments were a form of “testing her” saying “Me calling her a man, it wasn’t really, like, anything disrespectful. It was just me enduring and actually, you know, going through what I go through on a regular basis and just putting that on her to see how she can handle it.”
Now about that reality show. In 2016, Pollard hosted The Ex, which was filmed as a series. At the time, The Huffington Post summarized the show as showcasing “two ex-boyfriends who are competing against each other to find love from the same pool of gay men.” While the show had not found a network at the time, Pollard released the first episode on Vimeo. Additionally, for every rental or purchase of the first episode, the reality star committed to donating $1 to The Trevor Project.
She told The Huffington Post at the time “I know what it means to want to find that special somebody and not have it happen,” Pollard has said of the show. “So while I’m here and I’m able to keep doing what I’m doing, I’m going to help my gay fans find love.”
I spoke with contestant Charles Milian, who appeared on The Ex and spent a significant amount of time with Pollard. He said exclusively “My experience on ‘The Ex’ was a lot of fun! I especially loved my confessional camera time, I had the luxury of staying at the property Rainbow Mountain where we filmed with my best friend Jay Milian who played my competition. Tiffany was very warm, welcoming, and professional with all of the cast (we were very excited to meet her). She sat with me and coached me on my craft, giving me great tools she had learned, we had more one on one time with each other on set because I was a finalist on ‘The Ex’ and my time with her is time I still cherish today”
For Tiffany Pollard’s full statement, check out her Instagram