I’ve joked privately to friends that Krista Versace is our own Elektra–the villainess diva on Pose. She’s a bitch and always has been, but she’s fierce and she’s ours.
Yesterday Versace was fired from Hamburger Mary’s after a handsome gay Republican with a large social media following accused her of bullying him and dicslosing his HIV status and past drug use. The post where the exchange took place, which was on Just John bartender Kareem Lahai-Pumagoi’s wall, has been removed. I haven’t seen images of the comment and it seems images haven’t been produced.
“I never said he had HIV. I said he was a drug addicted porn star prostitute and has had his virus for over two decades, something he’s publicly talked about” Versace said in reference to the man’s interview with POZ Magazine.
“I hate to see it” begins longtime follower Mac Taylor upon hearing of Versace’s termination. “Krista is a bitch but a bitch you enjoy. Like an Alexis Carrington. I remember she had on this baby blue jumper once, sipping on a glass of white wine at the back bar at the Complex. I stopped and told her, mid sip, that the blue was a really good color for her and without missing a beat as I walked on toward the bathroom she yelled back at me ‘ANY COLOR!’”
According to bartender Kareem Lahai-Pumagoi, the same gay Republican behind the campaign against Versace has been viciously targeting him over his support of Black Lives Matter for some time. On a since-deleted post where Lahai-Pumagoi shared numerous screenshots, he writes: “This dude is trash. So obsessed with clout chasing. His narcissism knows no bounds and I love how he’s attempting to intimidate me by blowing up my IG and Facebook page. It’s harassment and you have zero power over my life.”
I’m withholding the name of the gay Republican and his known Trump supporting associates at this time as I wait to see a fuller picture of what occurred in the coming days. I don’t condone mocking someone’s status, period. As far as being bullied, though, it’s hard to see someone as a victim when they love trolling “libtards” and using their sizable following to harass people of color.
Knowing that Kareem Lahai-Pumagoi seems to be next on the gay Republican hit list, it’s important for the community to be vigilant. In St. Louis especially we’ve seen cancel culture co-opted by narcissists time and again to advance their own self-interests.
***UPDATE WITH STATEMENT FROM JUST JOHN OWNER JOHN O ARNOLD***
Let me add my 2 cents without going into a lot of details. The other day this same gay republican (GP) called my bar and demanded to speak to one of the owners because he was upset with what Kareem had posted on his own FB page. FYI, it had absolutely nothing to do with my bar. I told the GP that this was in between him and Kareem and that they needed to work it out. He did not like my answer and threatened me by saying he had thousands of followers and that he was going to blast my bar is a negative way on his page. I told him to be my guest and then he immediately hung up on me. He called me back within 3 minutes apologizing. Kareem and the GP did end up talking and the post was removed. Kareem and I both thought he was in a good place but evidently not. This GP was determined to get “someone” fired. What a POS! In my opinion, Krista should NOT be fired. They need to hire her back. I have nothing but respect for Krista. This GP talks publicly about everything she mentioned.This pandemic has brought out the worst in people. Our bar is only allowing 25% of our capacity but we are at 150% worth of drama since opening. People are going out of their minds. It is like they have all been cooped up for months and now they just need to start some kind of DRAMA
****UPDATE WITH NEW STATEMENTS FROM KAREEM LAHAI-PUMAGOI****
“WHAT AN EGOTISTICAL PRICK! SUCH AN ASSHOLE! SO HURTFUL AND DISGUSTING!” Kareem exclaimed upon hearing of Verace’s termination.
Kareem called me to defend Versace. “Krista did not disclose his status. He disclosed it himself on that very thread! He then deleted the comments.”
Kareem said the gay Republican, since outed as Matt Shiermeier, had been harassing him for three weeks, triggered by Kareem telling Shiermeier “You don’t have the clout you think you do.”
Since then, Kareem says, Shiermeier has been bombarding him with messages about how popular he is. He also has his followers post laughing emoji on Kareem’s photos, and on the photos of those who engage with Kareem’s posts.
After John O. Arnold was unpersuaded to terminate Kareem, Kareem reached out directly to Shiermeier. “What is the deal that you do nothing but think about this all day at 42 years old. Don’t you have friends?”
Kareem said Shiermeier said no and began crying. He thought they had some sort of breakthrough, and is furious that Shiermeier cost Versace her position.
****UPDATE*****HAMBURGER MARY’S RESPONDS WITH FACEBOOK POST