Roscoe's and Berlin drop T Rex amid allegations of racism

Tue. June 23, 2020 8:51 AM by News Staff

trannika rex

photo credit // facebook

Lucy Stoole: Boystown has a ‘deeper problem’ with anti-Blackness

Trannika Rex has been dropped by Roscoe's Tavern and Berlin Nightclub following allegations of racism.

During a virtual town hall, that was organized by the Chicago Black Drag Council and streamed live on Saturday, a number of Black queer people accused T Rex of abusing her status to discriminate against Black performers.

“RuPaul's Drag Race” star Shea Couleé accused T Rex of joking about a group number set to “I'm A Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears for Black History Month. Couleé, the only Black performer, would have been dressed as a slave and whipped by other performers.

T Rex, who has been a popular fixture in Chicago's drag scene for nearly a decade, admitted to making the joke.

“I want you to know that experience has stayed with me for a very long time because you were somebody that I considered a friend,” Couleé said. “The fact that I had to almost beg for an apology really let me know where I stood to you not just as a person, but as a person of color specifically.”

Couleé and others also accused T Rex of pay inequity and blacklisting performers.

“You directly attacked my livelihood," said Couleé. 

Representatives from Berlin, Sidetrack and Roscoe's participated in the three-hour town hall. Roscoe's announced it was severing ties with T Rex in a post to Facebook on Sunday. Berlin followed the next day. 

“We have decided to end our relationship with T Rex. We do not condone racism or behaviors that hurt others. We are sorry for the part we played in allowing this behavior to remain in our space and we vow to do better," read the announcement from Berlin. 

Lucy Stoole, who served as moderator, said there is a "deeper problem” with anti-Blackness in Boystown.

A second town hall featuring a manager and Black employee from every gay bar in Boystown is planned for Tuesday.

The full town hall with T Rex can be viewed on Drag Matinee's Twitch channel.