— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 16, 2024
RuPaul Charles took to the stage at the 75th annual awards show on Monday night to collect yet another Emmy after winning in the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program category. Charles is the most awarded host of a reality or TV competition show, with eight consecutive wins.
The American Drag Queen and television personality used the acceptance speech to target the critics, who, according to him, are attempting to “restrict your access to power.”
“Listen, if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her.”
“Knowledge is power,” the 63-year-old performer said to applause, “and if someone tries to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you.”
“So listen to a drag queen!” Charles said.
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) January 16, 2024
RuPaul's speech comes in the wake of a flurry of anti-drag show bills being introduced in different parts of the United States in recent years.
At least six American states have passed laws restricting “adult” or drag performances.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed a Tennessee law banning "adult cabaret" in public or in front of minors in February. However, It was blocked by a federal judge in April before going into effect.
A Tennessee bill that effectively bans drag in public and classifies "male or female impersonators" as adult cabaret performers has passed the TN House.
It is likely to become law after it heads back to the Senate and then goes to Gov. Bill Lee’s (R-TN) desk. pic.twitter.com/diaP5zPQ8w
— The Recount (@therecount) February 23, 2023
In November, the Supreme Court declined to allow enforcement of a Florida law that prohibits children from attending drag shows, keeping in place a lower court ruling as a legal challenge continues.
In most instances, anti-drag bans do not directly mention drag queens, but make it an offence for “male and female impersonators” or people who use “accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics” to perform on public property where they could be seen by minors, according to PinkNews.
Public reacts to RuPaul’s stance on drag queen story hour
The celebrity’s words resonated with thousands of people online, who rallied behind him in support against the unprecedented number of bills introduced across the U.S. targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
“Extraordinary achievement for #DragRace and RuPaul!,” posted a social media user on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Getting the chance to be a part of pure magic and making things with people i adore is so cool but in the grander scheme of things this kind of representation is and will always be so important — so so proud and grateful to be even the smallest part of this franchise ,” joined another.
“If someone is trying to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you.”
Can we get an amen? Wise words from @RuPaul and @RuPaulsDragRace on the importance of protecting our power as LGBTQ+ people in the face of anti-drag attacks. #Emmys pic.twitter.com/374Ppl5p4t
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) January 16, 2024
🌈 RuPaul Charles made a powerful statement about drag bans in the US after accepting Drag Race’s award for Best Reality Competition Series at the Emmys.
🗣 While accepting the award, @rupaul said: “Listen, if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her." pic.twitter.com/V6uEmlJh6e
— Openly 🏳️🌈 (@Openly) January 16, 2024
Ru Paul's Drag Race wins best reality competition show. at #Emmys. It is the program's 5th win; Ru has won best host eight times. I love the show, but maybe it is time for another program to step up?
— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) January 16, 2024
The Emmy award-winning icon was presented the award by comedians Ken Jeong and Joel McHale as he took the stage alongside fellow judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Mathews.
The program beat out fellow contenders Survivor, The Amazing Race, Top Chef, and The Voice at the event.
Big Night for minorities at the Emmy Awards 2024
The minority representation was strongly felt at the 2024 Emmy Awards with artists from marginalized communities shattering the glass ceiling in their respective categories and scoring major wins on a night dedicated to celebrating the best in television.
Black and Asian artists like Quinto Brunson, Niecy Nash-Betts, Ayo Edibiri, Ali Wong, Trevor Noah and others won their respective categories at the 75th annual awards show on Monday night.
Noah became the first person of colour to front a winner for variety talk series and its predecessor category — outstanding variety, music or comedy series — since In Living Color, created by and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans, won the award in 1990.
Quinta Brunson became the first Black Comedy Lead Actress winner in more than 40 years to win the Emmy for Abbott Elementary, a show she created and writes for.