Jonathan Van Ness addresses Queer Eye claims of difficult behavior as untrue

Jonathan Van Ness addresses Queer Eye claims of difficult behavior as untrue

Jonathan Van Ness, the beloved star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” has finally addressed the allegations of difficult behavior on set, which surfaced in a Rolling Stone exposé published in March. During a recent episode of the “Table Manners” podcast, Van Ness, who identifies as non-binary and uses he/she/they pronouns, opened up about the emotional toll the accusations have taken and firmly denied the claims.

Van Ness, 37, revealed that the “Queer Eye” cast first learned about the impending article in December 2023. “Our whole Queer Eye family had first learned about this article in December,” Van Ness said. “There was someone who was going to write an investigative takedown, like an 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.”

The hairstylist described the period from January to March as walking on eggshells, anxiously awaiting the article’s publication. When it finally came out, Van Ness was accused of having “intense and scary” anger issues on set, with anonymous sources describing them as “abusive,” a “monster,” and a “nightmare” to work with. The report also suggested that Van Ness’s behavior contributed to a rift within the Fab Five, possibly leading to Bobby Berk’s departure from the show.

Van Ness did not address the complaints immediately but has now spoken out, calling the accusations “overwhelmingly untrue” and claiming the article was “done in bad faith.” They explained how the article came at an incredibly vulnerable time, coinciding with the bankruptcy of their JVN Hair line and other career challenges. “It was really rough,” Van Ness said. “That article made me realize how much I’d been put in this position of being an expert or being perfect.”

The reality star admitted that the backlash forced them to reevaluate their self-esteem, which had been heavily tied to social media and their job. “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 c—t and this was, like, the proof,'” Van Ness said. “My family was so supportive, and my husband [Mark London] 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.”

Despite the emotional toll, Van Ness found a silver lining in the controversy. “It forced me to really learn how to slow down, disengage, and really love myself,” they said. “Sometimes loving yourself looks like feeling your feelings and being sad. It just kind of paralyzed me.”

Van Ness resumed filming the next season of “Queer Eye” shortly after the report was published, describing the experience as “intense.” The new season features Jeremiah Brent, who replaced Bobby Berk. Van Ness acknowledged that there have been moments in their career when they were stressed out and could have acted differently. “I know there’s been times where I could have been better,” they admitted.

The allegations against Van Ness starkly contrast their public persona, which has made them a fan favorite since the show’s premiere in 2018. Several former participants of “Queer Eye,” dubbed “Hometown Heroes,” have come forward to defend Van Ness, claiming they had always been “bright and nice” on set.

Van Ness’s co-star Tan France also disputed some of the claims in the Rolling Stone report, particularly the allegation that he campaigned to get Bobby Berk fired to replace him with his friend Jeremiah Brent. France denied conspiring against Berk, who announced his departure from the series in 2023 after eight seasons.

Van Ness concluded their remarks on the podcast by emphasizing the importance of self-acceptance, even during difficult times. “I’m someone who champions self-acceptance, but sometimes self-acceptance looks like having to love yourself through incredibly hard times,” they said. “Even though I do believe that that article was overwhelmingly untrue and done in bad faith, there have obviously been times through my career where you’re stressed out, or I might have been elbow-deep in highlights, and was like, ‘No, I can’t talk about that right now!’ I know that there [were] times I could have been better.”

The new season of “Queer Eye” is set to return to Netflix, and Van Ness is ready to move forward, focusing on self-love and personal growth. “It took me a while to learn how I wanted to talk about it, or if I wanted to talk about it,” they said, reflecting on the journey they’ve been through.

Source: Rolling Stone, Table Manners Podcast, PEOPLE

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