Don’t Be Cruel: Are Canada’s Drag Race Judges Too Tough?

Fans of Canada’s Drag Race are of the opinion that judges Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Stacey McKenzie are being unfairly harsh on the competitors. Photo courtesy Bell Media.

As the first season of Canada’s Drag Race zips toward the finish line, fans of the show have already reached a conclusion of their own. And surprisingly, it’s got nothing to do with the outcome of the competition.

Followers of the new reality-TV series, the latest offspring of the ever-burgeoning and hugely successful RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, aren’t at all happy with the attitude of the judges who’ve been working the show.

In the court of public opinion, they’ve already been found guilty of cruel and unusual punishment.

Getting To Know The Judges

Before delving into the charges being laid against them, let’s review the trio of personalities who are on the Canada’s Drag Race judging panel.

Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race won’t require an introduction to Brooke Lynn Hytes. That’s the stage name of Canadian drag queen Brock Hayhoe. Brooke Lynn Hytes competed on Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and finished second to winner Yvie Oddly. 

“It had been a fantasy of mine forever for there to be a Canada’s Drag Race, because we don’t really have anything here that gives drag queens this kind of platform,” Hytes told

Joining Hytes on the panel are Stacey McKenzie and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. Fashion model McKenzie also served as a judge on Canada’s Next Top Model, while Bowyer-Chapman appeared as Jay in the Lifetime dark comedy-drama series Unreal from 2015–2018.

Body Shaming Accusations

Bowyer-Chapman was called out on social media after he made a comment to contestant Ilona Verley that she should have used foundation on her backside during a runway walk. 

Fans felt that Bowyer-Chapman was body shaming Verley. Supporters of Verley found his critique to be cruel and humiliating.

At first, Verley shrugged off the comment. “Their critique about putting foundation on my butt – in the moment, I didn’t really take offence to that,” Verley told 

“And then seeing the overwhelming response on Twitter and social media about that really kind of opened my eyes to go like, ‘Oh, yeah, maybe they shouldn’t have said that.’

“That is kind of problematic. That’s going to make people feel ashamed of their bodies if they’re showing skin and not putting foundation on it. That’s kind of a weird message to put out.”

Hytes Says Sorry

Brooke Lynn Hytes took to Twitter to answer criticisms of Canada’s Drag Race judging. Photo by: DVSROSS (flickr).

Originally, Hytes backed up Bowyer-Chapman’s assessment, adding that she also felt Verley needed to apply some foundation. But as a drag queen herself, Hytes identified the reason for the criticism being due to the need to use foundation to cover up red marks that are caused by shaving. 

Looking to slow down the backlash against the show, Hytes took to social media to offer an explanation and adamantly state that it was in no way intended to be body shaming.

“She has a beautiful, beautiful body and it was not meant in that way at all,” Hytes tweeted about Verley. “You also can’t cover up cellulite with foundation, so yeah. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding and I understand that you probably couldn’t see that on your TV, but that’s where our critique was coming from.”

At the same time, Hytes wasn’t about to back off any suggestions that she was a tough judge during the show’s run. 

“I was definitely very critical, but always with a point,” Hytes said. “I was not there to make anybody feel bad or to put anybody down. 

“It was all constructive and I was just very honest with the girls.”

Weighing The Odds

With two episodes to go, it’s down to the short straw at Canada’s Drag Race. Just five contestants remain in the hunt for the title.

Rita Baga and Priyanka are the 3.00 favorites at canadasportsbetting, followed closely by Jimbo and Scarlett BoBo at odds of 4.00.

Lemon is the longshot on the board, with a betting line of 6.00.

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