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'Rage issues', 'mean girl antics' and the other claims in Rolling Stones' Queer Eye exposé.

Bobby Berk's announcement late last year that he would not be returning to Netflix's Queer Eye was, for many, the first crack in the facade.

It seemed like the wholesome TV equivalent of Zayn Malik's sudden exit from One Direction, and just like many boy band unravellings of the past, led to plenty of speculation about 'the real reason why'. 

Conversations about fractures between the show's Fab Five, Berk, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski, and their potential on-set feuds and alliances, flared.

The show's eighth season — Berk's last — aired in January, but the show will continue on without him.

Watch: the Queer Eye season seven official trailer. Post continues below video.

Video via Netflix.

Now Rolling Stone has published an exclusive 'Inside the Tensions and Tumult at Queer Eye'.

The feature includes interviews with production sources and reveals a series of not-so-wholesome allegations.

JVN accused of "rage issues".

Rolling Stone spoke to seven sources who described Jonathan Van Ness, the show's joyous grooming expert, as a "monster", "nightmare" and "demeaning".

All seven said Van Ness, who uses he/she/they pronouns, would lash out at people he worked closely with. Three described Van Ness as having "rage issues" and being emotionally "abusive".


One Queer Eye source estimated Van Ness would blow up at least once a week and was a "yeller".

"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 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."

This behaviour reportedly caused tensions within the Fab Five, with certain members including Berk becoming reluctant to shoot scenes with Van Ness.

One production member claimed Van Ness "didn't want to share the spotlight".

"There were times when we couldn’t even shoot scenes with certain members of the Fab Five together because it got so bad," they said.

Netflix executives reportedly held at least one meeting with Van Ness about this behaviour, but little changed.


Tan France and Antoni Porowski campaigned to replace Bobby Berk.

In the aftermath of Berk's announcement about leaving the show, rumours about his alleged falling out with France was one of the strongest leads.

"I want people to know that Tan and I — we will be fine," Berk said in a January interview with Vanity Fair, acknowledging a fallout without giving a reason as to why. Rolling Stone may have uncovered the reason.

In Vanity Fair, Berk said he was under the impression that the entire group were planning to end the series at about season eight. There was even a tearful goodbye at the end of season eight's filming.

"We thought we were done," he said. "Mentally and emotionally, I thought we all moved on. I know I did, and I started planning other things."

However, Netflix renewed the series to fill a gap left by the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Berk said he was surprised to learn the other four had agreed to return.


Now, three Rolling Stone sources allege that unbeknownst to Berk, France — with alleged help from Porowski — campaigned to replace Berk with interior designer and friend Jeremiah Brent.

One called it "mean girl antics".

Brent was officially announced as Berk's replacement for season nine.

The sources speculated that the four returning cast members signed back on in order to keep themselves in the zeitgeist, despite spluttering personal brands and businesses.

"Of course, they're all still doing it to maintain popular culture relevance. They're all basically influencers for their own brand," one source said.

The cast were competitive about screen time.

Queer Eye fans will be very familiar with the joke that Berk did much more work than the rest of the group, but got little thanks for it.

Often, the episodes would routinely cut scenes with Berk, according to four sources. Instead, he would only reappear at the end of episodes to reveal with home makeovers and watch the grand reveal with his castmates.

For a long time, Berk leaned into the bit. 


But it did take a toll.

"I know Bobby did feel a bit less in the running [of being the fan favourite] because you didn't see him that much in episodes," one source said.

The Fab Five were not friends outside of work.

Despite the warm group environment portrayed in the series, the Fab Five were mostly just co-workers.

Rolling Stone sources said only France and Porowski were friends outside of filming.

"Their relationships have definitely changed since Season One," a production source said. "As in all workplaces, as time moves on, people become closer with some people and move further away from others."

Another source was more blunt: "none of them are friends. They play nice."

Casting for Queer Eye season nine, which will be set in Las Vegas and be the first with new home expert Jeremiah Brent, is underway.

Feature image: Netflix.

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