The latest episode of the US version of the bizarre singing competition The Masked Singer has sparked intense backlash over the inclusion of former New York Mayor and Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a contestant.
This is everything you need to know - including how judge Ken Jeong reacted to the unveiling.
What happened on the US Masked Singer?
On the latest episode of the US version of The Masked Singer, Rudy Giuliani was revealed to be the person behind the Jack in the Box disguise.
Giuliani was unmasked after being voted off the show following his one and only performance in which he sang Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood & the Destroyers.
Talking to host Nick Cannon about why he wanted to take part in the show, Guiliani said: “I guess the main reason is, I just had a granddaughter, Grace, and I want her to know that you should try everything, even things that are completely unlike you and unlikely.
“And I couldn’t think of anything more unlike me and unlikely than this.
“And I enjoy the show. I have for years. And it just seemed like it’d be fun.
“I don’t get to have a lot of fun.”
Who is Rudy Giuliani, and why is he controversial?
Giuliani is an American politician and lawyer who, between 1994 and 2001, served as the 107th mayor of New York City.
He became a highly controversial figure after he joined Donald Trump’s personal legal team in 2018, when Trump was the US President.
His time as Trump’s attorney drew intense scrutiny, with allegations of a number of illegal activities raised against him.
In early May 2018, Giuliani said, in an interview with Fox News, that Trump had repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels regarding a sexual encounter she had with Trump, prior to the 2016 election.
Giuliani said that the payment was “funnelled through a law firm, and then the President repaid it”. His statement at the time directly contradicted Trump’s statements the previous month in which he claimed to have no knowledge of the payment made to Daniels.
In 2019, Giuliani was placed under federal investigation over violating lobbying laws.
Following Joe Biden’s election to President, Trump appointed Giuliani in charge of a legal team created for the purpose of challenging the election results.
This legal team appeared at a press conference on 19 November 2020 in which they made a number of claims and statements regarding voter fraud.
A fact checking article published by CNN at the time said that “the roughly 90-minute briefing was overflowing with falsehoods and conspiracy theories”.
Giuliani also made an appearance in the 2020 Borat sequel with Sacha Baron Cohen. Unaware that he would be starring in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, Giuliani could be seen reaching into his trousers and, allegedly, touching his genitals whilst lying on a bed in a room with an actor pretending to be Borat’s daughter, posing as a TV journalist.
In the scene, Borat then runs into the room and says: “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.”
In December of that year, Giuliani was sued by two Georgia poll workers for defamation over false accusations of electoral fraud.
Prior to the mob of Trump supporters storming the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, a “Save America” rally was held earlier in the day during which Giuliani game a speech in which he called for a “trial by combat” whilst pushing the conspiracy theory that the election was “stolen” from Trump by voter fraud.
He said: “Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, and a lot of them will go to jail. So, let’s have trial by combat.”
In 2021, Giuliani’s New York law licence was suspended after he was found by a state appeals court that he had lied by arguing that the 2020 American presidential election was stolen from Trump, making “demonstrably false and misleading” statements.
Did Ken Jeong walk off?
After Giuliani was unmasked on the episode, judge Ken Jeong looked less than impressed at the reveal.
While Giuliani spoke with Cannon and the other panellists, Jeong stood with his arms crossed and a disappointed look on his face.
After Giuliani was invited to sing Bad to the Bone unmasked to close out the episode, Jeong can be seen walking away from the stage, and can be heard saying: “I’m done.”
Given the way that Giuliani perpetuated the lie that the Presidential election was fraudulently won by Biden over Trump, Jeong’s decision to walk off has been praised by viewers.
Jeong’s fellow judge Robin Thicke looked equally uncomfortable with Giuliani’s reveal, however Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg and Nicole Scherzinger could be seen chatting with the former lawyer and dancing during his final performance.
Scherzinger told Giuliani that his family would be proud of him, and McCarthy thanked him for appearing on the show.
What has fan reaction to the episode been?
Reaction to the episode has been overwhelmingly negative, with many viewers amazed that Giuliani’s segment was even aired by the network.
Posting a moment from the show which said “This clue was a nod to Four Season Total Landscaping, which Rudy mistakenly booked for a press conference in 2020”,” writer Parker Molloy tweeted: “See? It’s all just a fun joke. The place where he pushed the conspiracy theories about the election that have poisoned our politics forever is just a fun clue on a fun show because nothing matters.”
The Masked Singer drew similar criticisms after it starred Republican politician Sarah Palin in the show in 2020.