On January 10th Netflix released a new show called “AJ and the Queen”. The first episode opens depicting the drag scene as a way to make a lot of money. Ru Paul is seen performing on a stage that is covered in dollar bills as more dollar bills rain down from above.
This series is about a gay drag queen who is conned by a grifter who pretends to be in love with him to scam him out of his life’s savings. The main character played by Ru Paul, who helped create the series, is Robert and it follows his travel across the country with a young girl who pretends to be a boy. The troubled child, AJ (Amber Jasmine) is trying to escape the insecurity of life with a prostitute/drug addict mother. The two main characters go from being antagonistic towards each other to having each other’s backs over the course of the series. Their adventures as they are pursued by the con-artist ex-boyfriend and his side kick lady pimp are at times humorous but the show which is marketed as suitable for youth 14 and up by Netflix is really inappropriate for minors. There were several shocking scenes that seem to normalize homosexual sex, promiscuity, and gay culture.
In one scene Robert, played by Ru Paul, explains to AJ their course for their travel and jokes that they will be going down the Hershey Highway (a reference to anal sex) and he says “If you were older, you’d love that”.
In another disturbing scene a drag queen refers to AJ, a minor depicted to be 10 years old in the series, as a “top” ( a term referring to the dominant person in homosexual sex). In yet another disturbing scene a drag queen says he “rufied” another drag queen.
And in other scene reminiscent of the Michael Jackson kiddie sleepover controversy, Ru Paul’s character is in a loft bed in the RV with the child because Robert is afraid of a rattlesnake after encountering one earlier in the day.
There are several lewd jokes and sexual innuendos made throughout the series, just as one would expect from a drag show. In one scene the drag queen friends joke that “The devil is straight, a gay devil would be tons more fun”.
When Robert, whose drag character is Ruby Red, shows up to a drag club with the young child another drag queen says “I knew closing all those Planned Parenthood clinics was going to cause problems”.
There is a gender-bending theme throughout the series that is not limited to men dressing in drag to perform. The child at the center of the story dresses as a boy and is asked if she wants to be a boy. Her response to Robert is “Do you want to be a girl”? Robert dresses as a girl for drag shows, outside of drag he is flamboyant and wears flashy and feminine attire but is not cross-dressed. In one episode the duo finds themselves in an RV park where the regulars are planning to perform songs from “Grease”. A boy in the RV park is portrayed as struggling with wanting to cross-dress and he ultimately performs in a dress while AJ performs as Danny. Robert tells the boy’s father who is concerned about this revelation that he “can try to repress what is inside that boy, but it is not going away”. AJ observes that the only time she saw the boy smile was when he put on that dress. Cross-dressing kids to push the gender-ideology agenda?
That isn’t the only time gender comes up. Ru Paul’s character explains you have to respect people’s gender issues and says he is not sure where AJ falls on the gender non-binary scale. Toward the end of the series Robert remembers that when he was a child playing with one of his female neighbors, he left when the girls came to play Barbie dolls because he was embarrassed, “boys are not supposed to play dolls”, he said. Here we go with the dangerous narrative that boys who play with girl toys are really somehow girls trapped in the wrong body. The reality is some boys have sisters or friends that are girls and children imitate what they see.
In another scene, while at the RV park they stopped at, Robert meets a pair of gay cowboys, who are heard saying in passing Robert, “I thought you were going to ask him for a 3-way”. The 3-way never happened but the series was not short of homosexual sex scenes. Robert’s roommate was depicted in bed and in the bathtub with his cop boyfriend, Robert had sex in a car with a man he met at a drag bar after which he proudly says he is doing the “walk of shame”, and Robert remembers sexual encounters with the con-artist ex throughout the series.
The pair of antagonists in the series, Hector and Lady Danger discuss the relationship between Robert and the con-artist at one point. Lady Danger says “You’ve seen her balls”. When Hector is offended by her remarks she says, “What, half my girlfriends have penises”. In one conversation with Hector (who has been seducing gay men for the duo to con), Lady Danger says “Half your girls aren’t even legal”. Of course by girls she is referring to the drag queens he has conned.
There is the taking of the Lord’s name in vain as the young AJ swears, “I need my G-d Damn phone” in an episode where AJ has left her phone at a diner. At a hotel room the two stay at for a night while their RV is being repaired, Robert uses a Bible to cover a stain on the nightstand in blatant act of disrespect toward Christianity. Another sexual innuendo takes place when Robert shows the mechanic his RV was hit from behind resulting in a broken taillight. The mechanic says, “It’s never good taking it in the rear”.
Speaking of Christianity, there is a scene toward the end of the 10 part series where Ruby Red is to perform at a drag contest to try to win $25,000 to help him rebuild his life and pursue his dream of having his own club. When he arrives at the drag contest there are Christians chanting “Drag yourself to Hell”. I have no idea if drag contests are protested but I never have heard of one being protested. Perhaps street preachers have shown up at those venues but most Christians are not out protesting drag events that do not involve children. This was an unfair depiction of Christians and showed that the creators have some animosity towards the faith.
In one episode the drag queen and AJ roll into a quaint conservative town to visit a museum by an “iconic dress designer” who designed dresses worn by Cher and other “iconic women” the drag queen idolizes. Robert finds AJ watching a girl with her ideal family through a window and he tells her it isn’t what it looks like, to Robert (Ru Paul’s character) the mother is overbearing, the father is checked out knowing the mother will never be happy, and the daughter is “probably a lesbian”.
Robert reminisces about his dreams and his bucket list he created with his con-artist ex includes adopting a child. I guess the creators of this show think a child deserves a drag queen parent in same sex union rather than a mother and a father which is what all kids deserve.
The series is at least somewhat honest in giving a glimpse into the seedy drag culture even if it is a bit cleaned up as far as what all goes on in gay clubs. There was still mention of drugs, hookups, homosexual sex acts, obscene language, sexual innuendos, and sexist gender stereotyping. In several scenes Robert attempts to teach AJ about womanhood, this is the type of misogyny that so many women object to, men who dress as flamboyant women lecturing women on how to be women.
It is inconceivable that Netflix thinks this show is appropriate for minors and that nobody thought through some of the comments that sexualize a young child. A discerning eye might also think this series borders on grooming of the audience toward the sexualizing of children as well as the overt attempts to push gender ideology.
ROAR Like a Mad Momma Bear: Call Netflix and tell them referring to children in a sexual manner is never acceptable and marketing drag, homosexual sex, promiscuity, and homoseuxal/drag culture to youth is not okay. Ask them to remove the show and to stop any future plans to continue this series.
Contact info for Netflix:
Contact Reed Hastings, Chairman, President and CEO: (408) 540-3700 Twitter ID: @netflix