Why Phi Phi O'Hara Missed RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Season 1

The so-called "villain edit" has long been hotly debated among reality TV aficionados, not least viewers of "RuPaul's Drag Race." Although the Emmy-winning show is frequently lauded for promoting inclusivity and spreading awareness about pertinent queer issues, "Drag Race" is no stranger to controversy, particularly when it comes to host RuPaul Charles. As Screen Rant notes, every year, at least one competitor is painted as the villain of the season — someone for fans to actively root against, and cheer when she's sent home.

However, in Season 13, fan favorite Kandy Muse turned this idea on its head, emerging first as a frontrunner before making it to the top three (she ultimately came second to winner Symone). Things may be changing in the "Drag Race" universe, but it's still a reality show. The first real villain was arguably Mimi Imfurst, who picked up fellow competitor India Ferrah during their lip-sync battle in Season 3. Elsewhere, Naomi Smalls became the villain of "All Stars 4" after ruthlessly, but ingeniously, eliminating frontrunner Manila Luzon.

When it comes to "Drag Race" villains, though, you'd be hard pressed to find anybody more virulently hated than Phi Phi O'Hara, from Season 4. He returned for "All Stars 2" in an attempt to redeem himself, but if O'Hara had his way, he would've come back even sooner. Here's why Sharon Needles' biggest fan didn't make it to "All Stars 1" in the first place. 

Phi Phi O'Hara is one of the most notorious villains in Drag Race history

Phi Phi O'Hara was undoubtedly the villain of Season 4. He clashed consistently with eventual winner Sharon Needles, with one particular confrontation ending with the now-iconic line, "Go back to Party City where you belong!" Although certain fans fully accepted the version of O'Hara they were presented with onscreen — The Gay UK described him as having a "terrible" attitude, saying "borderline offensive" things and coming across as "spoiled, narcissistic and bratty" — there were others who pointed to the show's dodgy history of painting queens of color in a negative light.

As Them argued, these performers are "often portrayed as bitter, spiteful, or unpleasant." Consider Jinkx Monsoon's "victory" over Roxxxy Andrews in Season 5. This, despite the fact Andrews was a pageant queen who excelled in challenges and frequently showcased great fashion on the runway too, while Monsoon was more often criticized for her looks than not. For O'Hara's part, he maintained there's nothing wrong with being competitive. After all, "there was $100,000 on the line," as he told Drag Official. The "Drag Race" alum reasoned, "I don't feel that anyone should ever be criticized for having a drive."

Phi Phi O'Hara tried to redeem himself on All Stars 2

He might not have cared too much what the haters had to say, but Phi Phi O'Hara was concerned enough about his reputation that he came back to redeem himself on "All Stars 2." Things didn't exactly go to plan, though. As Entertainment Tonight notes, although O'Hara seemed eager to rewrite his story, he didn't appear to have changed much since Season 4 and fought with just about everybody, including fan favorite Alyssa Edwards. 

However, the controversial star blamed producers for painting him in a bad light yet again. O'Hara even refused to attend the reunion taping, though host RuPaul Charles maintained there were no hard feelings, in an interview with ET (via YouTube). "Everybody does their own thing for their own reasons," she opined. "They're all my beautiful children, they're all complicated and diverse, I love 'em all." 

The feeling was definitely not mutual, with O'Hara decrying the show on social media and even telling Vulture plainly (via Slate), "I've completely lost all my respect for RuPaul. Because she has the power to stand up and say, 'You know what, this show is only for entertainment purposes. The edit for Phi Phi is not authentic to who Phi Phi is, and I wish you guys would just sit there and see that.'" 

Why didn't Phi Phi take part on Season 1 of All Stars?

"All Stars 2" didn't go how Phi Phi O'Hara expected, but the Season 4 queen was actually slated to return to the "Werk Room" even sooner. In an interview with Vulture (via Slate), O'Hara revealed he was actually in the running to compete on the debut season of the spin-off show, which was ultimately won by another Season 4 alum, Chad Michaels. Unfortunately, "I got arrested in March for some stuff that was on my background, stuff that I didn't take care of, so that was the reason I couldn't do the first season — because my background check came up dirty."

It was tough for O'Hara, who recalled how he was in touch with "Drag Race" producers the whole time, and moreover they showed concern when he began noticeably losing weight due to stress. "They were worried about me so they took me out to eat Chili's and made sure that I ate food," O'Hara revealed. He was consistently told his redemption arc was coming, which made it sting so much worse when "All Stars 2" rolled around and, in O'Hara's view, he became the victim of a bad edit once again. 

The "Drag Race" star admitted, "It's really upsetting because I put so much faith in this show [that] it was going to keep its word on this redemption for Phi Phi, and they've just made me look like another backstabbing manipulative monster."

What was Phi Phi O'Hara arrested for?

According to a report in Radar Online, "Drag Race" alum Phi Phi O'Hara shared a since-deleted video during which he admitted to spending a month in jail, in 2015. O'Hara was arrested right off the plane in Texas, due to an outstanding warrant for theft and DUI charges. The performer was about to embark on the next leg of the "RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons" tour at the time.

O'Hara acknowledged heavy drug and alcohol abuse while living in the state, but he relocated to Chicago without settling anything with the courts, which led to the warrant being issued. Out in SA confirms O'Hara was "accused of stealing from his employer," and subsequently violated the terms of his probation when he was caught "driving under the influence." He was supposed to attend rehab for alcohol abuse, but fled to Chicago instead, where his "Drag Race" journey subsequently began.

Describing his experience in the local Bexar County facility, in San Antonio, O'Hara revealed he was sharing a filthy cell with seven other people and there was even an outbreak of scabies at one point. Explaining his reasoning for sharing the story publicly, O'Hara encouraged those watching, "When you get in trouble, man up and fix the problem."

Phi Phi O'Hara has moved on from Drag Race entirely

"Drag Race" is a life-changing experience but, for certain performers, it can change everything for the worse. In May 2020, former contestant and two-time villain Phi Phi O'Hara took to Twitter to confirm his drag persona was being put to bed for good, or at least for now. Acknowledging he kept being asked what was going on with the character, O'Hara, real name Jaremi Carey, admitted, "I've been wanting to stop performing in drag for years now." 

He continued, "When my hobby became a job...it kind of killed it for me. I love the reaction and response I get for creating amazing pieces and characters and with drag becoming mainstream it has created a pool of 'experts' who have no experience in the art than entering their Netflix login, and imo [in my opinion] soured the fun for me."

Carey went on to explain that he refuses to continue putting himself in uncomfortable situations, and although "I don't plan on stopping drag" entirely, going forward, the performer wants to focus on creating joy with his art through other avenues (he's a pretty accomplished cosplayer, to be fair). "Phi Phi has been a great vessel for my art to come alive in but at the end of the day, I realized I never needed her to show my art," Carey concluded. All social media handles have since been changed to reflect the death, as it were, of O'Hara.