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Stuart O’Keeffe Says He Was Cast On ‘Queer Eye’ — Then Replaced By Antoni Porowski

A week after a Rolling Stone exposé uncovered some startling allegations about the recent recasting of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” reboot, chef Stuart O’Keeffe is opening up about his “missed opportunity” with the makeover series.

On Wednesday’s episode of his “Don’t Let It Stu” podcast, O’Keeffe recalled being cast as the food and wine expert on “Queer Eye” ― only to be replaced by Antoni Porowski by the time the show premiered in 2018.

“I was one of the five,” said O’Keeffe, who has appeared on the Food Network series “Chopped” and “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills.” “I was in one group of five, there was another group of five ― Antoni was in the other group of five ― so, like, A and B. They came in [and said to my group], ‘You’re the Fab Five.’ We all went outside the room, screaming, jumping up and down.”

O’Keeffe said he began to get concerned about a week later when he joined Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown and Jonathan Van Ness for a celebratory dinner in Los Angeles but Tan France did not appear.

Watch Stuart O’Keeffe discuss “Queer Eye” on the latest episode of “Don’t Let It Stu” below. His comments on the series begin at about the 12:20 mark. 

“I’m like: ‘Why is he not coming to dinner?’ Something’s up,” he recalled. “Somebody knows something. He was kind of being a bit of a dick, and I was just like, ‘Oh, this is weird.’”

Shortly after that dinner, O’Keeffe said he was called in for another audition: “And two days later, I get pulled out and Antoni gets pulled in.”

“The worst part was I found out on Instagram that I didn’t get it, that they swapped me out, which was really shitty,” he added.

Despite O’Keeffe’s less-than-positive take on France’s absence from the group dinner and his description of Van Ness as being “the loudest in the room,” he shrugged off the implication that any of the current “Queer Eye” cast members were responsible for his dismissal.

He did, however, allude to Porowski’s professional relationship with Ted Allen, who was the food expert on Bravo’s original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” series, as perhaps being a factor.

"Queer Eye" stars (from left) Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness in 2018. <span class="copyright">Frazer Harrison via Getty Images</span>
"Queer Eye" stars (from left) Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness in 2018. Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

“There’s some much speculation, allegation ... all that kind of stuff,” he said. “So we’ll never know. It was such a missed opportunity for me, but you know what? Everything works out.”

Netflix did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on O’Keeffe’s claims.

Rumors of behind-the-scenes tensions on the set of “Queer Eye” began to swirl last year when Berk announced his departure from the show in November after eight seasons. At the time, he appeared to unfollow France on Instagram.

Speaking to Vanity Fair in January, Berk acknowledged clashing with France but stressed that he and his former co-star “will be fine.”

Last week’s Rolling Stone report, however, amped up the feud claims, citing production sources who said that France and Porowski had engaged in “mean-girl antics” to get Berk axed from the show and replaced with interior designer Jeremiah Brent. Most of the criticisms, however, were leveled at Van Ness, who was described by sources as a “nightmare” and a “monster” who is emotionally “abusive” and has “rage issues.”

Days later, France posted a short video on Instagram in which he denied lobbying for Berk to be “fired” and Brent “hired” in his place. However, he and other “Queer Eye” cast members have thus far stayed silent on the Van Ness allegations.

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