'Queer Eye' Cast's Comments On The Colorado Baker Showcases That They Don't Always Agree
The Fab Five of Queer Eye have taken on some unexpected people for makeovers, like Cory the Trump supporter in Season 1. But grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness has his limits. Jonathan told Vulture he would not do a Queer Eye makeover on the Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding. The interview with Vulture's E. Alex Jung became heated when the Fab Five were asked specifically about whether or not they would film an episode with the baker who led to a controversial Supreme Court decision. And the conversation that followed showed that while the Fab Five are united in improving people's lives, they can be divided when it comes to how they handle their politics.
As the interview showed, the Fab Five of Jonathan, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Antoni Porowski were at odds when discussing the best way to reach people who don't share your viewpoint. Asked if they would ever make over Jack Phillips, who famously refused to make a wedding cake for two gay men back in 2012, Jonathan and Antoni had polar opposite responses. The question, it should be noted, was posed in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of Phillips, who claimed baking that cake went against his religious beliefs, in early June. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Colorado Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of the couple, who said that Phillips' refusal was discrimination.
Food and wine expert Antoni said he would be willing to do a makeover on Phillips. "I want to know what that's about. I want to know about who your parents were, how you were raised," Antoni said. "I want to know, if this person were vetted, if there's a willingness. Then I want to know about where that willingness is coming from." And while they didn't explicitly say they would work with the baker, Bobby and Karamo both spoke of the importance of interacting with people who don't share your beliefs in an effort to help people be more open-minded.
Antoni expressed interest in getting to know the reasons behind the baker's discriminatory behavior, but Jonathan said he didn't need to get to know him any better. "This is someone who has led a charge from the fanatical wing of the U.S. to disenfranchise gay people and further feed the flames of the right, who says we're evil and shouldn't have the right to marry," Jonathan said. "Exactly what's going on with Roe v. Wade will be the case for gay marriage if these same people continue to win Supreme Court decisions like they just won. So by legitimizing them, especially the person that has stoked such an intense case against marriage equality, that also presents such a big bone in the side of furthering marriage equality."
Jonathan, who grew up in a small town, went on, saying that perhaps Antoni and Karamo were more willing to meet with the baker because of their childhood growing up in Montreal and Houston, respectively. "Once you've lived a struggle that is not the struggle you'd have growing up in Montreal or Houston or a bigger city, and really had those people's policies affect your local life, you have to be very careful. Especially given the opportunity the five of us have been given," Jonathan said. "To have this platform and have these followers, to be taking interviews and to say lightly that you'd take [on the baker], I don't know. That's why I don't know if I'd want that episode. I really don't."
Beyond the baker, the Queer Eye cast also spoke about Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence. Karamo met with Karen's chief of staff in April to advocate for more art funding in schools through the Creative Coalition. "I've always been taught that if you want to see effective change, you have to be in rooms with people who tell you you're not welcome there," Karamo told Vulture. "I'm not saying I directly heard I'm not welcome, but we know the stance of this administration.
Vice President Pence has a history of creating policies that would hurt the LGBTQ community. And while Karamo thinks it's important to be in the room with people who fundamentally disagree with you, Jonathan doesn't agree. "I sure as hell couldn't legitimize someone like Karen or Mike Pence," Jonathan said.
Despite their differing viewpoints, Karamo and Jonathan made sure to support and respect each other in the interview. "[Jonathan's] approach is phenomenal, but you need someone else to say, 'I'm willing to go into this space.' And at this particular time, every journey that can lead us to where we hope to be is right." Karamo said. "What Jonathan and I feel is the same. We want LGBTQ people, we want marginalized people, to get their rights. So if I feel like being in the belly of the beast is going to give me access to maybe change one mind, that's enough for me to say, 'Maybe there's a victory there."
Even if Jonathan and his fellow cast members don't always see Queer Eye to eye on how to advocate for LGBTQ rights, they embrace their differences. "But the thing I love about us is that we can have this conversation," Jonathan said in the interview. If Queer Eye has taught fans anything, it's that there is always something to be gained by respecting others, even if you don't agree on political strategy.