While filming the first episode of the Fox show’s upcoming seventh season, the eliminated contestant was unmasked and revealed to be Rudy Giuliani, Deadline reports. As soon as they saw the former New York City mayor on stage, Jeong, 52, and Thicke, 44, allegedly left the stage in protest. According to the outlet, their fellow judges, Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger, stayed and chatted to Guiliani, 77.
The two later returned to set to resume filming, per reports, although it is unclear how long they were absent. Details about the former presidential candidate’s costume have remained under wraps, although the theme for the upcoming season is “The Good, The Bad, and the Cuddly.”
Fox did not respond to requests for comment from Us Weekly.
Most recently, Giuliani served as the personal lawyer of President Donald Trump and led the administration’s campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In June 2021, the former politician was suspended from practicing law in the state of New York after an appellate court determined that he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about the presidential election. One month later, his law license was also suspended in Washington D.C.
Giuliani is currently in the midst of several defamation lawsuits regarding statements he made following the election.
This is not the first time that a controversial politician has competed on The Masked Singer. In March 2020, the show faced backlash after former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin was unmasked as the Bear. “This is the weirdest thing I have ever done,” the former vice presidential candidate, 57, said at the time. “But it’s all about fun, it’s about unity. … This is something that our country needs right now.”
Palin later explained that she decided to participate on the show as a “middle finger to the haters,” telling Nick Cannon in May 2020: “It was all about the mask. I knew it would be so refreshing and so freeing … [and] I could do whatever I wanted to do.”
In March 2021, Caitlyn Jenner was unmasked as the Phoenix, just one month before launching her failed bid for Governor of California. Kesha shaded the Keeping Up With the Kardashians alum, 71, for her performance of “Tik Tok” with a video of herself retreating into her shirt while watching a clip of Jenner singing. “Live for a cover and live for this outfit…. but i mean i have to go,” the Grammy nominee, 34, captioned a video on TikTok in April 2021.
Season 7 of The Masked Singer premieres on Fox on Wednesday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.