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Jonathan Van Ness claps back at ‘Bernie Bro’ staffer who tweeted joke about him dying of AIDS

Nick Duffy February 26, 2020
Jonathan Van Ness spoke out about the toxic bullying messages

Jonathan Van Ness spoke out about the toxic bullying messages (Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

Jonathan Van Ness has clapped back at a Bernie Sanders staffer who tweeted a ‘joke’ about him dying from AIDS-related illness.

The Sanders campaign has sacked Michigan regional field director Ben Mora after the contents of his private Twitter account were revealed on Tuesday.

In the messages, Mora derided other presidential candidates – describing Pete Buttigieg as “what happens when the therapist botches the conversion” and Elizabeth Warren as a “dumb Okie” and “adult diaper fetishist” who “looks like s**t”.

In one message, he shared photos of Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness in a modelling shoot, writing: “Jonathon Van Ness trying to look hot while Daddy Ronald Reagan watches him die of AIDS.”

Jonathan Van Ness hits out at abuse from ‘extreme Bernie supporters’

The ‘joke’ was sent in September 2019, days after Van Ness spoke about living with HIV for the first time.

It referenced 2018 comments the Queer Eye star had made criticising Bernie Sanders’ style, when Van Ness had quipped: “Ronald Reagan, could he be bothered to mention HIV/AIDS? No, but he could be bothered to put some gel in his hair, and I just feel like that is a thing.”

After the contents of Mora’s messages were revealed, Van Ness – who is backing Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic race – spoke out on Twitter.

Jonathan Van Ness, of the Netflix series Queer Eye, introduces Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Jonathan Van Ness, of the Netflix series Queer Eye, introduces Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The hair stylist wrote: “This is the tweet a former Bernie staffer tweeted from a locked account.

“How many senior Bernie staffers saw these tweets for months and promoted their behavior? It’s commonplace I endure this by extreme Bernie supporters daily. The change has to come from inside their campaign.”

Queer Eye star says Bernie Sanders supporters ‘need to check eachother’

He added of abuse on the platform: “It’s constant. As an HIV+ queer person IF I do have to support Bernie should he win the nomination I want to experience the “loving coalition” right here on Twitter. I’m done taking it & not calling it out. Bernie supporters need to check eachother.”

Van Ness questioned how many high-level Sanders staffers “saw these tweets, knew they were coming out, PROMOTED him, gave a weak sauce call to not bully, and only fired him when it came out.”

The TV star also quipped: “my long standing wish for Bernie to engage in skin / haircare seemed to have worked bc honey he’s looking much more polished this time around.”

Since calling out Mora, Van Ness has been barraged by more hatred from Sanders supporters – who insisted he is a “capitalist pig” who “deserves the joke at his expense.”

He responded: “Fuck Twitter.”

More: AIDS, Bernie Sanders, HIV, Jonathan Van Ness

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