“I ask for open-mindedness from the community as I seek to bring truth.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Soju has responded to the multiple allegations of sexual assault lodged against her.
Earlier this month, the drag performer and Shot With Soju host – birth name Tony Hyunsoo Ha – was accused by multiple people of gaslighting, emotional manipulation and sexual misconduct.
According to the first victim to come forward, a Twitter user named Kev, Soju insisted on having sexual intercourse when he was “blackout drunk and “unable to walk”. On another occasion, she reportedly forced him to perform oral sex.
Following the latter incident, Kev said he “dissociated” from life and became a “shell of a person,” with his trauma only intensifying when Soju made her debut on the 11th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2019.
“I can’t even begin to describe how triggering and traumatic it was for me to see Soju get on Drag Race,” wrote Kev. “This is when I was hit in the face like a brick with all of the memories and emotions I had bottled up for so long.”
Kev continued: “I’ve spent years wondering what would happen if and when I came forward. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified of what people might say. I barely decided just a few months ago to do this. I don’t know why but something in my heart told me it was time. Ever since this decision, I’ve been in intensive trauma therapy twice a week to prepare myself for what might come.
“While I know deep in my heart that my decision to come forward is first and foremost for my healing, I’m also sharing the truth to combat the ways survivors are silenced because we fear, and know well, the possible repercussions for speaking out, especially when its abuse perpetuated by someone in the public eye.”
After speaking with others who’ve had similar experiences with the star, Kev realised there was a pattern in her behaviour, of “coercion and assault”, as well as manipulating all of the victims to believe that they were in the wrong.
“It wasn’t until I heard these stories, each so similar to mine, that I knew I had to come forward and make sure Soju wouldn’t get away with the abuse and manipulation he’s gotten away with for far too long,” explained Kev.
His statement inspired several others to recount their experiences of sexual misconduct with Soju.
TW: Sexual Assault
From January of 2016 to January of 2018, I was sexually assaulted, manipulated, and gaslit by Soju several times. pic.twitter.com/knGSHP2CMj
— Kev 🌹 (@mynameisntkev_) January 22, 2021
Thanks for sharing, from one Kev to another. When I was 16 before Tony was on S11, I had followed him after being a fan of Shot w Soju, and after sometime, he followed me back and started immediately messaging me creepy shit. Even after knowing I was 16 from my IG and me (1/4) https://t.co/1anJJBIcdY pic.twitter.com/Sp1FWQd1yH
— Kevyn (@mx_kevyn) January 22, 2021
this is the ONLY TIME i will ever open up about this since i'm not the one to insert myself in drama unless it's something i've personally experienced. i, too, was sexually assaulted by soju/antonio and it took me a long time to realize and come to terms with that. https://t.co/BigCmWzkyZ
— Micah XIII (@micah_xiii) January 22, 2021
In an emailed statement to Out, Soju denied the claims.
“While I await full advice from my legal representative to make an official statement, I will share that I have anticipated these claims after threats and an extortion attempt were sent to me as recently as January 2020,” she wrote.
“These claims were first brought to my attention by a contact asking for a large sum of money, threats that they would make my life difficult if I did not pay, as well as full admission their lawyer saw this ‘case’ as an opportunity to spread her name.
“I have photographic proof of these attempts, among other evidence to point these claims have been orchestrated towards me, and I will share when my full case is prepared. So far, those who have spoken out have not publicly stated they were pressing charges.”
Soju went on to ask for “open-mindedness from the community” as she seeks the truth, and said she’d never “dismiss or diminish a victim’s experience, but all of the current evidence presented indicated this has been a plan in the works for more than a year.”
She expanded further on Instagram, saying she led a “stereotypically fuck boy life” before her run on RuPaul’s Drag Race and never participated in sexual acts “without the other person’s consent.”
“No matter how much I wanted to have sex with someone, I never proceeded without the partner’s permission. And never once did I take advantage of someone when they were too drunk to make decisions or blacked out,” she told her followers.
“My way of life could’ve made people feel like all they were good for in my life was the sex. But I never let my way of life intentionally hurt people. I’ve always been transparent and honest with you guys and I will never stop.
“I’m sorry to everyone who feel disappointed by me. I’m sorry to anyone that I hurt in any way, shape, or form. Thank you for your understanding and your patience.”