Jonathan Van Ness is allegedly a “monster” with “rage issues” behind the scenes

Jonathan Van Ness

Queer Eye host Jonathan Van Ness has been accused of behind-the-scenes behavior that made their fellow cast members reluctant to film with them and led to tensions on the set of the hit Netflix reality show.

In a new exposé in Rolling Stone, sources described Van Ness as a “monster,” a “nightmare,” and said they had “rage issues.”

The magazine spoke to seven sources who either worked on the series or with Van Ness directly for the piece digging into the circumstances that ultimately led to Bobby Berk’s surprise departure from Queer Eye in November. All seven alleged that Van Ness was prone to lashing out at those around them, with one source claiming that the nonbinary grooming guru would “explode” at least once a week during filming.

“[There’s] a real emotion of fear around them when they get angry. It’s almost like a cartoon where it oozes out of them,” one source claimed. “It’s intense and scary.”

“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,” another source said. “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.” 

“Working with him is very difficult in any capacity,” another source said of Van Ness, who uses they/he/she pronouns.

According to Rolling Stone, Van Ness’s behavior contributed to a “rift” among the five members of Queer Eye’s cast, which developed over the course of the show’s eight seasons.

One member of the show’s production likened the “Fab Five” to a boy band. “Essentially they were a group of people put together in their mid-thirties and told to be best friends,” they explained. “That’s truly what it was: a manufactured boy band with big personalities that certain ones were favored and certain ones were not, and then eventually [things] turned really toxic.” 

Sources said that Van Ness’s mood could shift the dynamic on set, and that other cast members became reluctant to film with them.

“He didn’t want to ever share the spotlight with anyone,” one Queer Eye production source said. “There were times when we couldn’t even shoot scenes with certain members of the Fab Five together because it got so bad.” 

Two sources told Rolling Stone that Netflix execs met with Van Ness at least once to discuss their on-set behavior and treatment of the show’s crew, to no avail.

The outlet also suggested that Berk, who announced in November that he was leaving the series, was essentially blindsided by his castmates’ decision to renew their contracts after Queer Eye’s most recent season. Sources backed up Berk’s suggestions in recent interviews that everyone involved, from the cast to crew members, was ready to call it quits after filming in New Orleans wrapped in September. Berk recently told Vanity Fair that he turned down a new four-season contract assuming the rest of the cast would as well.

But three sources claimed that Tan France campaigned behind the scenes to have Berk replaced on the show. Berk is said to have butted heads with France, as well as Van Ness, in New Orleans, and in his interview with Vanity Fair, Berk alluded to a “personal” conflict with France that led him to unfollow Queer Eye’s fashion expert on social media.

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

According to Rolling Stone, France had support from Antoni Porowski—the two are reportedly the only cast members who are actually friends—in his efforts to have Berk replaced by France’s friend Jeremiah Brent. Last week, Netflix announced that Brent would indeed join the Queer Eye cast for the show’s upcoming ninth season.

None of the Queer Eye cast members spoke to Rolling Stone, and so far none have commented on the allegations in the report.

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