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Jonathan Van Ness Accused Of Being ‘Abusive’ And A ‘Monster’ On ‘Queer Eye’ Set: Report

Jonathan Van Ness, who became the breakout star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” reboot thanks to their sunny disposition, is being accused of being a “monster” off-camera. 

Four anonymous “Queer Eye” production sources and three sources who have worked with Van Ness told Rolling Stone in a report published Tuesday that the celebrity hairstylist (who uses they/he/she pronouns) regularly lashes out at crew members and those who work closely with them. The sources described Van Ness as a “nightmare” and a “monster” who is “demeaning” and emotionally “abusive” and has “rage issues.” 

Jonathan Van Ness performs his comedy show at The Brown Theatre on Jan. 19 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jonathan Van Ness performs his comedy show at The Brown Theatre on Jan. 19 in Louisville, Kentucky. Stephen J. Cohen via Getty Images

“Jonathan’s a person who contains multitudes and who has the capacity to be very warm, very charismatic, and has the capacity to make you feel really special that they are paying attention to you,” one source who worked with Van Ness told Rolling Stone. “But at least once a day, they would need to yell at somebody. It might be something small, but there’s always going to be somebody to point out and blame and make the villain of the day.”

Another anonymous source who’s worked with Van Ness described the reality TV personality as being “intense and scary.” 

“[There’s] a real emotion of fear around them when they get angry,” the source explained to the magazine. “It’s almost like a cartoon where it oozes out of them.” 

These descriptions seem to be the antithesis of Van Ness’ public persona of an optimistic, kind, albeit over-the-top, personality who is also loudly passionate about transgender rights and bridging political divides

“As much good as he wants to do in the world, I think a lot of it is very hypocritical,” a production source told Rolling Stone. 

“There’s a definite contrast between the principles and the values that Jonathan stands for publicly,” another source who worked with Van Ness explained. “They’re really centered around having this warmth, love, and care for other people. There’s a real contrast between that and the way that they treat the people who are closest to them across the board. It’s the opposite of what this person is touted and paid to be.”

Van Ness, here at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards, creates
Van Ness, here at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards, creates "fear around them when they get angry,” a source who had worked with them told Rolling Stone. Taylor Hill via Getty Images

Sources also alleged that Netflix executives had at least one meeting with Van Ness about the behavior, but it went nowhere, with one source saying Netflix “actively rewards them for their bad behavior.”

“There’s no accountability at all,” another person who has worked with Van Ness said.

HuffPost has reached out to Van Ness and Netflix for comment but did not receive an immediate response. 

Rolling Stone’s exposé also touches on fellow “Queer Eye” host Bobby Berk’s recent departure from the show after eight seasons. Berk announced his decision to leave on Instagram in November, with a slideshow of photos that include one of him and his “Queer Eye” cast mates seemingly having a good time hanging out with one another.  

“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that season 8 will be my final season on Queer Eye,” the show’s resident interior designer said on Instagram. “It’s not been an easy decision to be at peace with, but a necessary one. Although my journey with Queer Eye is over, my journey with you is not. You will be seeing more of me very soon.”

“Queer Eye” cast mates, from left, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Van Ness pose with their Emmy statuettes after winning the Outstanding Structured Reality Program award in January.
“Queer Eye” cast mates, from left, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Van Ness pose with their Emmy statuettes after winning the Outstanding Structured Reality Program award in January. Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Although Berk’s departure appears to be amicable and good-natured, the sources who spoke to Rolling Stone said there were less sunny reasons for his exit. This includes allegations that Berk’s fellow cast mates Tan France and Antoni Porowski engaged in “mean-girl antics” to have Berk replaced by France’s friend and interior designer, Jeremiah Brent, who did eventually get the gig

France, Porowski, Van Ness and Brown visit the SiriusXM Studios without Berk in 2019.
France, Porowski, Van Ness and Brown visit the SiriusXM Studios without Berk in 2019. Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images

Berk recently confirmed to Vanity Fair that there was a rift between him and France, saying they “had a moment” on set but that they “will be fine.”

“There was a situation, and that’s between Tan and I, and it has nothing to do with the show,” Berk told Vanity Fair. “It was something personal that had been brewing — and nothing romantic, just to clarify that.” 

To read the article in full, head over to Rolling Stone.

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