Jonathan Van Ness Says ‘Queer Eye’ Exposé Claims Not ‘Based in Reality’ 5

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness has, for the first time, publicly commented on allegations that they were abusive on the set of Netflix‘s smash hit makeover series.

The grooming expert was caught in the centre of a Rolling Stone investigation in March this year which claimed Van Ness had “rage issues” and that subsequent tension among the Fab Five prompted Bobby Berk‘s departure from the show.

The report said three sources who had worked with 37-year-old Van Ness described them as being emotionally “abusive” and a “monster.” Claims included that Queer Eye‘s work environment was “really toxic” with a “manufactured boy band” who were “told to be best friends.” Fellow stars on the eight-series show include Karamo Brown, Tan France and Antoni Porowski.

Van Ness, who uses they/them pronouns, had not yet responded to the allegations, and has now come forward to say the article is not “really based in reality.” They spoke to English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware on the Table Manners podcast, which dropped on Wednesday.

“There was this article that was written about Queer Eye and myself in March, but our whole Queer Eye family had first learned about this article in December,” Van Ness said.

“I went from this bankruptcy,” they explained, referring to their business JVN Hair having to be sold by its parent company. “Then, ‘Oh, there’s someone who’s going to write an investigative takedown, exposé piece about you that isn’t really based in reality, but can certainly have a lot of things taken out of context to make you look as bad as possible.

“So from January to March, I was walking on eggshells being like, ‘When is this going to happen?’ And then it finally did happen,” they said.

Discussing the reaction from social media users to the report, Van Ness added: “I think a lot of people were looking for a reason to hate me or looking for a reason to be like, ‘See, I always knew that they were a fake cunt.’”

They said the allegations prompted them to put down their phone for weeks while the article circulated. “My family was so supportive, and my husband and my team. But I didn’t even get on social media to look at my phone for like three weeks and anytime I tried to dip my toe in, I would immediately see something that was so intensely hurtful.”

Earlier in March, Queer Eye‘s fashion guru France claimed on Instagram that Berk was fired. France wrote: “I just want to address one point real quick. My former colleague getting fired had nothing to do with me trying to get my friend hired.” Berk has not commented, but when announcing the news of his departure, said it was “my decision.”

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