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Has Netflix fired Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye?

That sounds like an absurd question. They are one of the biggest breakout stars from the revival series.

From a damning interview with Dax Shepherd to JVN’s autobiography and beyond, they’ve had a huge positive impact on the world.

Now, however, an alarming expose details an alleged distressing workplace culture at Queer Eye.

And it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for their behavior behind the scenes.

Jonathan Van Ness in April of 2023.
Jonathan Van Ness, founder of JVN Hair, backstage at ChargeX – the global ecommerce conference hosted by Recharge on April 28, 2023. (Photo Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Recharge)

The ‘Queer Eye’ revival has had behind-the-scenes problems

Netflix’s take on Queer Eye did a worldwide casting search to line up its Fab 5. Some who worked on the show have likened it to creating a “boy band.” These stars had great chemistry together — but that’s not the same thing as being real-life friends.

As Rolling Stone‘s in-depth report on Queer Eye‘s various issues points out, this show has had an educational and even a healing effect on many in America.

“My queer friends aren’t necessarily lining up to watch it,” a production source explained in the report. “But [it’s] a show that a Southern mom with a gay kid –who’s kind of on the fence about whether to accept him — would watch and be affected by.”

Jonathan Van Ness in December of 2019.
Jonathan Van Ness attends the world premiere of “Cats” at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on December 16, 2019. (Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Pretty much indisputably, Jonathan Van Ness was the biggest breakout personality of this Fab 5. The hairstylist was already a familiar face for their star-studded Gay of Thrones YouTube series.

However, much of the Rolling Stone report details JVN’s behavior. Multiple sources in production describe them as extremely, unbearably “toxic.”

“Four Queer Eye production sources and three sources who worked with Van Ness said the reality star was terrible to work with,” the report describes, “using words like ‘monster,’ ‘nightmare,’ and ‘demeaning’ to describe them.”

Jonathan Van Ness in November of 2019.
Jonathan Van Ness speaks during The Clean Academy launch event hosted by Biossance and Jonathan Van Ness at Harriet’s Rooftop on November 05, 2019. (Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Biossance)

The description of Jonathan Van Ness does not match their public persona … not entirely, anyway

“Three people labeled Van Ness as emotionally ‘abusive’ and having ‘rage issues,'” the report continues.

“And,” Rolling Stone goes on, “all seven sources said the star would lash out at crew members and people who worked closely with Van Ness.”

A source specified: “[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. It’s intense and scary.”

Jonathan Van Ness speaks on stage in 2020.
Jonathan Van Ness speaks onstage at IMDb LIVE Presented By M&M’S At The Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 09, 2020. (Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

One source described JVN as having “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.”

That insider warned: “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 production source pointed out JVN’s alleged hypocrisy. “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.”

Jonathan Van Ness speaks on stage in May of 2019.
Jonathan Van Ness speaks onstage at The Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything Festival” at Spring Studios on May 22, 2019. (Photo Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

The parallels write themselves

Across social media, people are comparing the report on Jonathan Van Ness to grim portraits of Ellen DeGeneres. Employees, other celebrities, and members of the service industry shared their experiences with the once-beloved comedian, and opened people’s eyes.

It’s not quite the same with JVN. There aren’t specific horror stories about them like there are of Ellen.

Jonathan Van Ness is arguably the biggest star of Queer Eye (which may be why they haven’t been fired). But even so, they’re not the actual literal boss.

Should Jonathan Van Ness be fired from ‘Queer Eye’ after this?

Some are questioning whether they should be fired. Netflix did not immediately comment on the report in any official capacity.

Their activism has changed lives for the better, but no amount of public good should make someone immune to accountability.

Others want to hear their side of the story, and any potential rebuttals from other production sources.

Bobby Berk in 2024.
Bobby Berk attends the 5th Annual Jam For Janie GRAMMY Awards Viewing Party at Hollywood Palladium on February 4, 2024, (Photo Credit: Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images)

None of this came up in the lengthy Twitter thread in which Bobby Berk announced his exit from Queer Eye.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that season 8 will be my final season on Queer Eye,” he wrote on the flailing social media platform. “It’s not been an easy decision to be at peace with, but a necessary one.”

Berk affirmed at the time: “Although my journey with Queer Eye is over, my journey with you is not. You will be seeing more of me very soon.”

Jeremiah Brent is handsome in May of 2022.
Jeremiah Brent will be joining Netflix’s Queer Eye as the Fab 5’s new designer. (Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Bed Bath & Beyond)

Berk later explained to Vanity Fair that his contract was up, and that he turned down Netflix’s new four-year offer.

But this damning report about Jonathan Van Ness’ alleged behind-the-scenes behavior casts this in a different light.

Of course a “boy band” casting style isn’t going to forge a lifelong friend group. But it will be interesting to hear Berk explain whether JVN was a factor in his leaving the show.