… Ok, now I'm a little worried.
RuPaul's been MIA, as far as social media is concerned, since the COVID-19 epidemic gained foothold in the United States last March. He even stopped promoting “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 12 in all of his social media platforms — Twitter and Instagram.
Aside from his appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 12 finale, which was pre-recorded from home, he hasn’t made any public nor virtual appearances since.
His long-time running podcast with Michelle Visage, “What’s the Tee?,” also stopped releasing new episodes, with the last one, episode 248, published on March 25th. But it’s understandable to suspend the podcast if there’s a sudden lack of sponsors. Businesses were indeed retreating or forced to suspend operations as the initial wave of coronavirus infections surged.
Before the pandemic struck, he used to be very active on Twitter. Then later on, his Instagram account, thanks to Michelle Visage for ushering him on the platform. He shared old photos of his early hustles, appearances and meetings with big stars at the time, including the up-and-coming ones.
But today, for no apparent reason, all his Instagram posts are gone. His account is still active and verified. But his Twitter account is non-existent, likely deleted.
Did he lost his phone, then was used to wipe out his social media? Maybe not, Los Angeles was on a lockdown. He had to break quarantine for it to happen.
Did he got hacked? It’s possible, and certainly common these days for well-known accounts to get targeted by hackers. However, hacked accounts include tell tale signs, like altered bios and uncharacteristic posts – the hacker’s payout. None of these things happened.
Did he intentionally do it? Possible.
Since March, in the midst of a pandemic, his absence on social media was noticeable but not unusual. Even with all the unrest in the United States, like the protests that broke out after the killing of George Floyd, when some Drag Race fans and alums called him out to make a statement, his channels were quiet. Not even through World of Wonder or his namesake show’s official channels.
It was safe to assume then that he was in recluse for his safety, physical and mental, as the world went into a tailspin. Perhaps disconnecting was his coping mechanism. Even then, it’s typical RuPaul. On his podcast with Michelle Visage, he often pointed out to her that he’s an introvert. And she’d go on about her concerns when he “shuts down” and completely disconnect during winter… even from her.
RuPaul disconnecting and not saying anything for a long period on social media is normal. But today's development is a bit bizarre.
His social media isn’t just something he used for personal reasons, he’s a business (RuCo), a brand. His social media are representatives of that brand. Perhaps even part of contracts and business dealings — like using his platform for promotions, for one thing. And from an interview with World of Wonder last year, there are seven upcoming projects in the works related to Drag Race. RuPaul isn’t going anywhere.
Remember when Mathu Anderson deleted his social media after his abrupt exit from the show in the middle of production? Although this scenario (internal issues) is very unlikely, it’s worrisome.
Social media isn’t everything. One can live and do business without it. RuPaul can certainly do whatever he wants. We just hope he’s alright and safe.
And not that it matters to him, it would be great if the Drag Race fandom would show some respect and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Send good vibes not hate.
As of this writing, his own website is still active.
Update: July 3, 2020
Corrected upcoming projects to seven, not eleven. Conversation with a Drag Race alum yield some meaningful perspective. And it’s a simple one: rebranding and respite. Stay tuned.