On The Masked Singer, judges’ jaws are supposed to drop when an eliminated celebrity sheds his disguise. But in one upcoming episode of the Fox show, the big reveal of Rudy Giuliani reportedly prompted two of the judges to walk off set.
Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke left the stage in protest the moment they saw the Donald Trump ally and former New York City mayor, according to Deadline and TMZ.
The other two judges in the primetime singing competition, Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger, are said to have remained on stage and bantered with Giuliani, a former Trump lawyer who helped his ex-client push the baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Jeong and Thicke eventually returned to continue filming the first episode of The Masked Singer Season 7, which is set to air next month. News of Giuliani’s appearance has sparked a lively social media response, however.
Comedian and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted: “Anything for ratings, right?”
The Trump ally has been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack—prompting writer and TV personality Dave Holmes to post: “Next time you’re about to complain about cancel culture, just remember that [Giuliani] got cast as like the Happy Li’l Slice o’ Cake on The Masked Singer.”
The USA Singers, which describes itself as “the first band of the resistance,” tweeted: “Rudy Giuliani went on the Masked Singer and now they have to change the name of the show to the Criminally Insane Drunken Singer.”
NBC contributor Katie Phang shared the story on Twitter, commenting: “We are only one month into 2022 and it is already nuts.”
Political analysis outlet Palmer Report wrote: “Props to Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke for walking out in protest.” It added that the Fox show had “no business allowing Rudy Giuliani on the air.”
The Masked Singer has previously featured controversial figures, such as the former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential contender Sarah Palin, who performed Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” in a bear costume in March 2020.
Sean Spicer, a former Trump press secretary, also sparked an outcry in 2019 when he competed on Dancing With the Stars. The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV critic, Daniel Fienberg, referred to Spicer in his criticism of Giuliani’s appearance.
“Shows like ‘Masked Singer’ and ‘DWTS’ too often operate as a disgrace-laundering operation,” Fienberg tweeted, which helped give the impression “that people like Sean Spicer and Rudy Giuliani are figures of innocuously adorable mediocrity worthy of having their status buffed from notoriety to fame.”