If you’ve been watching the 12th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then you know that a great deal of effort is being made to edit down (or just straight-up remove) disgraced contestant Sherry Pie from each episode. The editing team over at World of Wonder is obviously busy, which might explain why some complicated comments made by extra special guest judge Jeff Goldblum weren’t cut from the final broadcast. And it didn’t take long for some viewers to let it be known they were extremely unimpressed by what was said. Hmmm…I’m sensing a theme this season.
Jeff Goldblum is an icon of aggressive sexual energy, and technically his only job requirement was to sit in front of that disco honeycomb background and trigger the vapors. But Jeff is also a weird dude. So of course he gave viewers at home some very on-brand Goldblumian non-sequiturs and supposition. But then things went downhill for the VH1 complaints department during the judging portion of this week’s runway. The 9th episode titled “Choices 2020” aired on Friday night. The runway category was “Stars & Stripes Forever,” which the remaining seven queens interpreted in various representations of America. Jackie Cox, who is of Persian descent, chose to wear a patriotic stars and stripes hijab outfit.
“I’m here, and I deserve to be in America just as much as anyone else.”
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) April 25, 2020
Maybe Jeff’s brain can only handle one coherent thought at a time, and it was too busy trying to work out the physics of Gigi Goode’s tuck. Because when Jeff asked Jackie about the intention of her look, it was a little clumsy.
Ummmmmmmmm….. Jeff Goldblum wyd pic.twitter.com/dQndTH65VR
— Ira Madison III (@ira) April 25, 2020
Here’s the conversation between the two:
Jeff Goldblum: Are you religious, may I ask?
Jackie Cox: I’m not. And to be honest, this outfit really represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country.
Jeff Goldblum: Isn’t this an interesting wrinkle, though? Is there something in that religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising this issue and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid, but what do you think?
BuzzFeed reports that some people on social media felt Jeff was being Islamophobic, and that it wasn’t a good look right in the middle of Ramadan.
Jeff Goldblum felt the need to say "but isn't Islam anti-gay and anti-woman" to Jackie because she was wearing a stars-and-stripes hijab, as if America hasn't been anti-gay and anti-woman from the outset, or killed and displaced millions of Muslims, including women and queers…
— Omar Sakr (@OmarjSakr) April 25, 2020
Jeff Goldblum’s commentary tonight on drag race has been really off-putting, the whole “just wondering out loud, Islam is a misogynistic, homophobic faith” is not cool
— Erin Brockobić (@erinbrockobic) April 25, 2020
But some people came to Jeff’s defense, saying that he was just asking a question, and shouldn’t be judged for trying to learn and educate himself on a topic he’s not intimately familiar with.
— niv (@notoriousniv_) April 25, 2020
Jackie Cox hasn’t directly addressed the situation, but she did further explain her look on Instagram, reiterating that it’s about Muslim pride, honoring Muslim family and friends, and standing up against Islamophobia in the U.S. (she didn’t touch on anything anti-women or anti-LGBTQ).
View this post on Instagram
I'm here and I deserve to be in America just as much as anyone else. 💙🇺🇸❤️ @rupaulsdragrace #DragRace UPDATE: I am truly overwhelmed by the amount of love I’ve been shown the last 24 hours regarding my runway interpretation of the “Stars and Stripes” Runway. I’ve also seen a lot of debate about this look and whether I should or should not have worn this, or said what I said on the runway. To clarify my intentions, this look was meant to honor my Muslim family and friends and also stand up against the Islamophobia they have faced. As for my personal relationship with Islam: I am agnostic, and my immediate family has their own, somewhat secular, interpretation of the Islamic faith. Growing up, my mother spoke to me a lot about her thoughts on Islam and her belief that it was something I shouldn’t be afraid of. It was her opinion that both the western media interpretation, and the hardline mullahs who took over Iran were the ones who were misinterpreting the faith. She instead, chose to focus her beliefs on love and charity and made a pilgrimage to Mecca in her youth. She, and her sisters, wear headscarves while in public in Iran as that is the law. In their personal lives, as seen depicted in the photographs of my aunt and mom in the US on the show, they do not wear headscarves. However; I support their freedom and choice to wear or NOT wear a headscarf, a right that I am grateful is granted here in the United States… but brings Islamophobia. I think it’s important to clarify the importance of freedom of religion versus the religious law imposed in Iran and many other countries. But freedom of religion only works when people can live without fear of losing their job, hearing racial slurs, or worse. I am proud that this runway is opening up conversations around that issue. Though I have sometimes lost faith in the US, this moment has given me hope. ❤️ ❤️ Swipe through to see the sketches from my amazing designer and friend, @travis_oestreich . And also my original inspiration for this look, which was the “We The People” series by @obeygiant ❤️💙 My photo is once again by the incredible @prestonburford !
And there’s been no comment from her majesty herself, RuPaul. That could be because she’s just happy everyone is finally talking about something other than fracking. But in the event RuPaul does address the situation, maybe it will go a little something like this. “Listen, from time to time, someone associated with RuPaul’s Drag Race is going to say something a little problematic. Sometimes it’s a guest judge, sometimes it’s me. Can I get an amen? Now let the music play! Quick, Michelle – play some music.”