*Out has updated this story with a statement from Soju.
In the wake of sexual assault allegations surfacing online,RuPaul's Drag Raceseason 11 competitor Soju has deleted their Twitter account and changed her Instagram account to private. On Twitter, a user named Kev shared their experiences with Tony Hyunsoo Ha, known in drag as Soju, that date from 2016 to 2018 that include sexual assault, sparking others to also share their accounts. Out has not been able to verify any of the allegations. In a statement sent to Out, Ha said he had "anticipated" these claims and that they were part of an extortion attemption.
Some in the Drag Race community, like Shea Coulee, have reached out to the survivors online with words of support.
According to Kev's account, they met Ha on Grindr at 17-years-old in January 2016. They recount a dynamic that included pushing someone beyond their stated boundaries, "abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting." They also allege that in October 2016, the pair engaged in intercourse while Kev was "blackout drunk' and could "barely walk." According to this description, Kev would not have been able to give consent.
In one instance, according to Kev, in January 2018 when they were 19 and Ha was 26, the former Drag Race competitor physically forced them to perform oral sex. As Ha was driving, Kev could not go home until they complied with the demands according to the account. In the days to follow, Kev blocked Ha and the two haven't spoken since.
"I can't even begin to describe how triggering and traumatic it was for me to see Soju get on Drag Race," they wrote. "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." Drag Race season 11 was released in February 2019 but Ha had built a name within the Chicago drag scene and on YouTube with the Shot With Soju brand prior.
"I've spent years wondering what would happen if and when I came forward," Kev wrote. "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."
Since Kev's post others have come forward with their own stories. One details a survivor's experiences with Ha from September 2016 to December 2017. In it, they recount repeatedly having their stated boundaries ignored. The allegations show evidence of a pattern.
"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," Ha told Out in an emailed statement. "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.
"In the meantime, I ask for open-mindedness from the community as I seek to bring truth," Ha continued. "I would never dismiss or diminish a victim's experience, but all of the current evidence presented indicates this has been a plan in the works for more than year. Thank you for your patience and understanding."
Ha did not respond to any of the multiple allegations directly.
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