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How a Fake News Story Engulfed Katy Perry, Migos, and Drag Queens

Katy Perry

Unconfirmed rumors about homophobia launched social media outrage that still roars.

Photo: Saturday Night Live Instagram (@nbcsnl)

Katy Perry's questionable Saturday Night Live performance of her latest singles, "Bon Appetit" and "Swish Swish," has created a media frenzy calling for the end of Perry's and rap group Migos' careers.

Last weekend, Katy Perry performed her new singles to mixed reviews on the Saturday Night Live season finale hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. "Bon Appetit," her self-proclaimed sexual expression anthem, features the rap trio Migos, and during "Swish Swish," a dancehall diss track, she invited New York City drag queens to come onstage and vogue the house down.

On Monday morning, the website for World of Wonder, longtime producer of VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race, published a tabloidesque and irresponsible article blasting Migos for refusing to work with the drag queens during Perry's act. Citing only unnamed sources, World of Wonder claimed Migos felt uncomfortable in the presence of drag queens, demanded that Perry remove them from the "Bon Appetit" performance and the after-party, and accused Perry of not paying the queens for their performances. The article has since been deleted.

This is definitely one of those "don't believe everything you read on the internet" moments. RuPaul's Drag Race season 7 winner Violet Chachki read the article and was understandably outraged, and took to Twitter to attack Perry, an outspoken LGBT ally, and Migos, who have a record of homophobia. "Sick of queers being used for profit from celebrities and major brands/ publications," Chachki said.

The story took off from there and was published by media outlets and publications as true. Perry's and Migos' representatives both tried to get ahead of the "completely false" rumors, and a few of the drag queens involved in the numbers spoke out but were largely ignored by the masses. Jesse Havae wrote on Facebook, "Y'all! There is no drama with Migos. I was the only drag queen in the damn number. I don't know why this is a thing." Scarlett Envy even suggested that the editorial director of HuffPost Queer Voices, Noah Michelson, actively ignored the truth in favor of a juicy story.

"I didn't mention compensation in my earlier statement because I'm a professional and it's not your fucking business how much Katy Perry paid me, but when I corrected Mr. Michelson, he didn't apologize. Instead, smugly dismissed me after I wouldn't comment about Migos to further his troll goal of rewriting the same articles we all already read this morning. He quickly deleted his comments after Queer Voices requested it be covered up."

This is clearly fake news at this point, but the story had taken on a life of its own on social media. Once it was trending, it was reprinted as fact, and more people were upset at Migos' homophobia and at Perry for allowing it. Now, cue the homophobes.

Many people tried to defend Migos for not wanting to work with drag queens, saying the group can choose to work with whoever they want or don't want, while others point out that that's the literal definition of discrimination. While this dialogue surrounding hip-hop culture might be beneficial in the long run, especially in a genre that has a laundry list of offenses against queer people and women, it's all based on a falsehood. *sigh* My head hurts.

World of Wonder has yet to comment of the avalanche of drama it started, and social media users continue to argue over fake news. What. A. Mess.

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Taylor Henderson

Pop culture nerd living in LA. When Taylor's not obsessively tweeting about Beyonce or Katy Perry, he's probably eating or working on his first YA novel.
Pop culture nerd living in LA. When Taylor's not obsessively tweeting about Beyonce or Katy Perry, he's probably eating or working on his first YA novel.