Tyra Sanchez Arrested: Vandalizing walls to terrorizing queens, how 'RuPaul's Drag Race' winner fell from grace
Tyra Sanchez was arrested and charged with criminal damage to property after he allegedly spray-painted a wall with the words, 'Do Not Move Here'
Retired drag queen James William Ross, popular as Tyra Sanchez, is in the eye of a storm yet again. On August 20, the 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 2 winner was arrested by the Atlanta Police Department on charges of criminal damage to property. As reported in People, the police officers responded to a call about vandalism at an apartment complex in Atlanta. Upon arrival, they spoke with security officers and learned that someone had spray-painted a wall with the words, "Do Not Move Here". Upon identification, the officers suspected Sanchez behind the notoriety and charged him with criminal damage to property. Sanchez was transferred to the Fulton County Jail, inmate records confirm.
Sanchez's past controversies
His recent arrest has made us ponder upon the past controversies that Sanchez has been mired in. He was a Florida native before moving to Orlando and is the son of drag queen Angelica Sanchez Jones who was a popular performer in Orlando. During the reality TV series 'RuPaul's Drag Race', Sanchez spoke candidly about his period of homelessness and personal challenges prior to auditioning for the show. He won the race on 'RuPaul's Drag U' in 2011. However, in 2016 things became ugly for him, especially on Twitter.
A fan of 'RuPaul's Drag U' called Sanchez annoying in a tweet while posting gun emojis in the post. Sanchez took on him replying "Girl kill yourself", as reported in GSN News. This was met with severe backlash but Sanchez stated that he would not apologize for his opinion. Later, he went on to call victims of suicide "selfish cowards" in a series of tweets. He wrote in a now deleted tweet, "I have no sympathy for people that commit suicide. They’re cowards. They give up & give in. Stop tweeting me about it." He said in another, "If you want to kill yourself, go ahead it’s your life. Am I gonna be sympathetic for you & give pity? I think not. Too busy living MY life."
This was met with severe backlash on Twitter and Facebook. As reported in news site GSN, a petition calling for Ru Paul to revoke Sanchez's crown was signed by nearly 2000 people in August 2015 after which RuPaul released a podcast on August 26, 2015, defending Sanchez. He stated, "Twitter is not the place for that. People don't get nuance on Twitter, you can't do irony on Twitter, people won't get it. On Twitter, you don't hear inflection, you don't hear snark, you don't hear sarcasm."
Posting mock obituary
In 2017, Sanchez posted a mock obituary of American-Scottish drag performer Morgan McMichaels and used the site to direct people to his own SoundCloud page. The act was quickly denounced by McMichaels who later said that the post was meant as a punishment for her blocking Sanchez's booking at Mickey's nightclub in West Hollywood.
Accused of violence in 2018
The controversies did not stop there. In 2018, Sanchez was banned from attending RuPaul's DragCon LA event after being accused of threatening Season 4 contestant Phi Phi O’Hara and Season 2’s Tatianna with physical violence, as reported by EW. Panicked fans reported Sanchez to the FBI for fear that there could be a terrorist threat to the event.
Apology in 2020
It was after some soul searching that the drag queen released an apology statement on his social media accounts in October 2019, taking responsibility for most of his past actions as reported by EW. "I humbly apologize for the online behavior I have displayed in recent years," he stated. "Though it represents emotions I may have felt, it does not represent my true character. I have failed you and I know that I am much better than that…. it’s not who I am and it is not who I choose to be."
Explaining his past actions he said, "Many times I expressed myself without thinking things through. I reacted out of fear and with anger. Neglecting the fact that I was wrong, I unleashed my anger upon anyone who crossed me. Making them pay for old and new because I thought it made me feel better…. I was angry, hurt and lost." He publicly announced his decision to quit drag in 2020 stating, "For those asking, Tyra Sanchez has fulfilled her purpose in my life. I, James Ross, no longer want to be referred to as Tyra, Tyra Sanchez, her, she, girl, or queen."