The Vibe Behind the Scenes of Queer Eye Is Very Tense and Toxic, According to a New Report

Since 2016, the “Fab Five” at the center of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot have publicly presented themselves as a loving, tight-knit unit. But according to a new Rolling Stone report, there’s significant tension among the stars on set.

Rolling Stone spoke to 10 Queer Eye production members and “well-placed sources” who detailed what they say is the reality show’s tumultuous behind-the-scenes environment. One production member compared the Fab Five’s dynamic to “a boy band [that] falls apart,” noting that the five stars grew increasingly competitive over screen time and “jockeyed to be the show’s biggest star.”

Back in November, Fab Five member and interior design pro Bobby Berk announced that he would be leaving Queer Eye after its eighth season. In a January interview with Vanity Fair, Berk said that he initially decided to leave the show because their contract was up, and he didn’t realize at the time that his four cast members ultimately decided to return.

Four production sources told Rolling Stone that, despite Berk’s thorough renovation work each episode, producers routinely cut his filmed scenes, which meant he was absent for large parts of episodes.

“I know Bobby did feel a bit less in the running [of being a fan-favorite] because you didn’t see him that much in episodes,” one production source noted to Rolling Stone.

“Essentially, they were a group of people put together in their mid-thirties and told to be best friends,” the source said. “But people don’t expect that Queer Eye could be that. 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.”

Jonathan Van Ness’ on-set behavior was another allegedly contentious factor, with four production sources saying that making the show was difficult due to their actions. Three additional sources described the star as emotionally “abusive” and having “rage issues.”

“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 who worked with Van Ness told Rolling Stone. “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.”