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Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman Has Moved on From Drag Race Hate & Manipulation

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman Has Moved on From Drag Race Hate & Manipulation

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman Has Moved on From Drag Race Hate & Manipulation

The actor spills the tea on production challenges and fandom bullying after his judge tenure on Canada's Drag Race.

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Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has opened up about his controversial exit from Canada's Drag Race

The 36-year-old was one of three main judges on season 1 of the Drag Race franchise spin-off but received an insurmountable amount of hate from fans following his appearances each week. "The amount of times that I was called a stupid n—er in my inbox from white, gay men was shocking — specifically because we were in the midst of a racial justice awakening,” Bowyer-Chapman told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview. "All of the hate, and racism, and harassment, and death threats" shined a "light on the insanity of" the fanbase. "It really did show a lot of people how dark and how toxic the Drag Race trolls have become over the past couple of years and how unacceptable it is.”

While he came off as hyper-critical of the queens to many viewers, they took what he said to heart and barraged Bowyer-Chapman with hate. He eventually deleted his Twitter account completely.

It's not too much of a surprise as many of the queens and judges alike who appear on the franchise have been forced to navigate vile comments, but he says the most surprising part of it all was how vicious LGBTQ+ folks watching could be. “As gay men, we unfortunately have grown accustomed to experiencing hate and vitriol and homophobia. I guess I had just never experienced it from my own community. That was the part that was most heartbreaking.”

Bowyer-Chapman also revealed that he felt manipulated by production. He says he was told to be "sassy", that he was just eye candy for contestants and viewers, and that they made him read a malicious list of phrases backstage that were later dubbed over runways and challenges. “I came into Canada’s Drag Race with a false sense of security because I had built that trust with the producers of the American show,” he explained. “But this was a different set of producers. And I think they were trying to create something impactful and prove themselves along the way. As so, there are many instances where looking back I should have paid attention to my intuition and spoken up. And I didn’t.”

Bowyer-Chapman's exit from the series was announced this past March, citing his casting in a new show.

In our exclusive new interview with the actor, we discuss his latest role on Disney+'s Doogie Howser reimagining, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D

 

 

The series follows a sixteen-year-old doctor named Lahela 'Doogie' Kamealoha, played by Andi Mack star Peyton Elizabeth Lee. "I play Dr. Charles Zeller, a resident in the hospital on Oahu in Hawaii," Bowyer-Chapman tells PRIDE. "He's a transplant from the mainland from Chicago. He is in Hawaii for the first time experiencing it all for the first time, so as he learns about traditions of the locals and customs and such, the audience learns right along with him."

The character is also openly gay, which is still a rarity for Disney+ shows. The importance of that has certainly dawned on Bowyer Chapman. "When we were kids, we didn't have the privilege of turning on our TVs and seeing reflections of ourselves. We can see positive reflections or representations of queer men or black men, for the most part. The same way that our white friends could like point to the TV and be like, that's me, I'm her. It was just such an obvious void in this industry. And so that's why I wanted to become an actor in the first place, so that I could help fill that void in some capacity and button and be a positive representation for young queer kids out there, young black kids, young biracial kids."

New episodes of Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for Bowyer-Chapman's upcoming podcast, The Includr Podcast. "It's all about inclusion and looking at it through the perspective of brain science," he says. He'll be "sitting down with neuroscientists and like sociologists and psychologists" to break down inclusion from different perspectives when it comes to bias or psychological safety in the workplace or hiring practices or whatever it may be."

Watch our full interview below:

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!