Queer Eye stars pretending to date to launch new business prompts fierce queerbaiting debate

Queer Eye stars Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness

Queer Eye stars Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski have sparked a queerbaiting debate after pretending to date to sell dog treats.

On Wednesday (14 September), Van Ness and Porowski shared a series of social media posts, with photos of them holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes.

In one, Van Ness wrote: “We’re finally together. Details tomorrow, but know that we’re very happy and feeling supported by the people around us.”

Porowski added in another: “Some personal news. After years of joking about it, we’re finally together. Here’s to giving things a shot. More tomorrow.”

A day later, they both posted again, with Van Ness tweeting: “Whoops, important clarification – we’re together in *business* BAYBIEZ!

“Introducing Yummers meal mix-ins for pets!! I’m SO excited for you all to meet the incredible, sustainable, and deLISH (ask Larry) pet company that Antoniand I co-founded!”

But the stunt didn’t go quite as planned, sparking a fierce debate over whether the Queer Eye stars were queerbaiting.

One Twitter user told Van Ness they were “literally queerbaiting to sell s**t to your largely cis straight audience that you cater to”, and a Slate article described the joke as “shameless, manipulative, and deeply moronic”, while also misgendering Van Ness.

But many fans jumped to the pair’s defence, confused about how they could be queerbaiting when they are both members of the LGBTQ+ community, with one asking: “They’re literally two openly queer people. Who are still queer now. How’s that queerbaiting??”

“Why the f**k are people so mad at JVN and Antoni for making a silly joke and promoting their dog treat brand,” asked another.

“If you don’t think it’s that funny then don’t engage, they’re not some evil capitalists manipulating you with queerbaiting. Literally just friends having a laff.”

Van Ness addressed the accusations himself, tweeting: “Seeing folx be mad about two queer people making a joke to launch a biz are the same critics who have nothing to say about queer issues impacting queer people.

“Don’t say trans bills, the overturning of Dobbs, the threat to marriage equality… but yes be mad about pet food.”

“Some v angry folx saying I don’t do anything for our community etc,” he added.

“I literally advocate queer issues look at the body of my work and you would see the work I do day in and day out.

“But it’s not even about me! It’s about people painting you in whatever s****y light fits their narrative and I’m not here for it.”