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Jonathan Van Ness Responds to Bernie Sanders Staffer's Joke About AIDS

Jonathan Van Ness Responds to Bernie Sanders Staffer's Joke About AIDS

Jonathan Van Ness Responds to Bernie Sanders Staffer's Joke About AIDS

The staffer was fired for that, among other crude comments.

Bernie Sanders staffer Ben Mora, who worked as a Michigan regional field director for the campaign, was fired this week after it was revealed that he ran a private Twitter account bashing other candidates and their supporters, sometimes in the most heinous ways.

One of his tweets targeted Jonathan Van Ness, shortly after he came out as HIV positive.

“Jonathon [sic] Van Ness trying to look hot while Daddy Ronald Reagan watches him die of AIDS,” Mora wrote, sharing photos of the Queer Eye star.

The tweet seems to be in reference to a video from 2018 in which the Queer Eye cast judged Sanders’ style. At the time, Van Ness himself joked: “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.”

Retaliating against a joke about someone’s hair with a joke about them dying of AIDS is quite an escalation, and Van Ness spoke out about the controversy on Twitter.

“This is the tweet a former Bernie staffer tweeted from a locked account,” he wrote. “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.”



The discussion over Mora’s tweets is entwined with the concern that Sanders continues to downplay complaints that a subset of his supporters are harassing people who support other candidates online regularly. The original article revealing Mora's tweets confirmed that at least one of Mora’s four thousand followers also worked for the Sanders campaign, and that many of his other tweets targeted Pete Buttigieg, his husband, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and their supporters in crude ways.

While the campaign’s removal of Mora echoes Sanders’ sentiment that he doesn’t condone his supporters attacking people online, a number of them have continued to tweet in support of Mora and defend his comments.

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Pride Staff