Two judges on Fox's competition series The Masked Singer reportedly walked off the set in protest after a shock appearance by Rudy Giuliani.
The former attorney for former President Donald Trump was revealed as a contestant during a taping of the show last week for its upcoming seventh season, leading judges Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke to walk off the stage, Deadline reports. The singing competition show involves celebrity contestants wearing elaborate costumes to disguise their identities so judges don't know who they are until they're revealed.
In this case, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who was involved in Trump's attempt to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election based on false voter fraud claims, was reportedly revealed in the seventh season premiere. According to the report, Jeong and Thicke eventually returned to the stage after walking off, while judges Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger stayed on stage the whole time.
The Masked Singer previously sparked some criticism, though no walkouts by the judges, after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was revealed as a contestant in 2020. But the show drew fresh backlash after it was reported that Giuliani had been invited on in the wake of his false 2020 election fraud claims. Referencing both this and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's appearance on Dancing with the Stars, The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg argued, "Shows like Masked Singer and [Dancing with the Stars] too often operate as a disgrace-laundering operation, helping 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."
Fox hasn't commented on the report, nor have Jeong or Thicke, and no footage from the taping has been revealed. Assuming it's still broadcast as planned, Giuliani's Masked Singer episode is set to air on Fox in March.