RuPaul's Drag Race Is Under Fire For A "Dangerous" Joke About Bipolar

11 June 2018, 16:53

RuPaul's Drag Race bipolar joke controversy
Picture: VH1/Netflix
Katie Louise-Smith

By Katie Louise-Smith

People are calling out RuPaul after making a joke about bipolar disorder in the latest episode of 'Drag Race'.

It's no secret that the latest season of RuPaul's Drag Race has left fans disappointed and wanting more. Some fans have called out the show for favouritism, boring challenges and now, in the most recent episode, the show has come under fire for a controversial comment made about mental illness.

Last week's maxi challenge involved the remaining queens creating two drag personas; one that represents them in their every day life and the other that represents their negative-thinking and inner saboteur, the "evil twin". When describing the challenge to the other queens, RuPaul encouraged them to "board the bipolar express." You can hear the comment in the video below.

The comment may have been a quick throwaway gag but many have called Ru and the show out on it - and rightly so. Fans of the show have argued that Ru's comment further stigmatises people living with bipolar and has done no favours in removing the stigma surrounding how the illness is perceived.

Bipolar, by definition, is when someone experiences both manic and depressive episodes; severe high and low moods alongside drastic changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behaviour. It is not a type of dissociative identity disorder (split personality).

Not only was the joke offensive and frustrating to people who live and deal with bipolar disorder everyday, linking it to split personality disorder in the same sentence and context was incorrect and also incredibly damaging. Here's what people are saying about the comment on Twitter:

It's not the first time RuPaul has come under fire for controversial comments on the show either. Back in 2015, the show dropped its signature 'SheMail' catchphrase due to complaints from the Trans community. As fans of the show will know, the segment now says: "She done already done had herses."

At the end of the day, no matter now light-hearted the comment was intended, using mental illness as a punchline for a joke (an inaccurate one at that) is not ok and it's incredibly frustrating for some people who work hard day in day out to remove stigma and educate people on mental health.

RuPaul is yet to respond to the backlash yet.