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Valentina’s elimination from season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race will go down as one of the most shocking moments in the show’s history, particularly for the onslaught of online harassment her fellow competitors faced in the wake of her departure.
The Los Angeles native’s legion of fans rallied around the fallen Drag Race contender after her ousting in May, the result of a disastrous lip-sync performance that saw Valentina refusing to remove a lace mask covering the bottom half of her face when it became clear she didn’t know the words to the track playing overhead. (“It’s a lip-sync. What part of that do you not understand?” RuPaul scolded from the judging panel.) Many of Valentina’s fans publicly attacked season 9’s remaining contenders — namely Nina Bo’Nina Brown, who emerged victorious from the now-infamous lip-sync battle, and Alexis Michelle — in response to Valentina’s exit.
“My following is very underrepresented in the media. I represent something similar to what Selena represented in the ’90s… they’re overprotective of that,” Valentina tells RuPaul in EW’s exclusive sneak peek at tonight’s season 9 reunion. “I don’t agree with that kind of behavior because that’s not the kind of person that I am.”
“Why didn’t you say that on the media?” Peppermint fires back. Michelle adds, “You never told them [to stop]. I called you. I FaceTimed you in tears because of people telling me I should go kill myself because I’m so ugly and so fat, and I should have volunteered to eliminate myself over your elimination.”
Valentina defended herself by claiming she isn’t savvy with social media. (Her digital presence is the largest of any season 9 queen, with 460,000 followers on Instagram and almost 65,000 followers on Twitter.)
“Girl, you can say you’re not on social media, but when we were in Montreal, you were on that phone checking every like, every follow, every single thing. Whether you were reading the comments, verbatim, or not, you knew what was going on,” top four-finisher Shea Couleé adds. “Also, when we were shooting the promo for this show, you said to me, ‘Shea, I just want to say, if anyone comes for Nina, I told her that I will stand up for her. I will address my fans, and I will make it all right.’ I’m confused.”
View the fiery exchange in EW’s exclusive clip above. See how the argument concludes on the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 reunion special tonight at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.