The Wendy Williams Show has issued a formal apology to drag performer Erickatoure Aviance, who was told that she would be removed from the audience if she tried to appear on camera.
According to The Advocate, Aviance was standing in line for the show when an executive told her that she was in violation of a “no-costumes” dress code policy. She was allowed to stay, but was moved to be seated out of camera view and was advised her that she would be asked to leave if she drew any attention to herself or tried to ask Wendy Williams (read our interview here, Wendy responds to criticism that she mocks the gay community) a question from the audience.
Aviance noted that she wasn’t even rocking the most outlandish of all audience members: “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.”
They show tried to make nice with the following statement that Lonnie Burstein, executive vice president of programming and production for Debmar-Mercury (the company behind The Wendy Williams Show) issued to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation:
“Much of the success of The Wendy Williams Show is due to our incredibly diverse and colorful audience and we all agree that fashion is a true form of self expression. But in an attempt to explain and enforce our show’s dress code, I was not as sensitive as I could have been to Ericka, the LGBT community, or drag’s long history of being a target of discrimination. And for that, I sincerely apologize as it was never my intention to offend in any way.”
That’s a start, but hopefully Wendy checks her staff! As many times as Wendy has joked about being a drag queen herself (with her huge wigs and attention-grabbing fashions), there’s no reason why this sould’ve ever gone down on her show.