Davis Bates for GAY TIMES

“How many senior Bernie staffers saw these tweets for months and promoted their behavior?”

Jonathan Van Ness has called out a former Bernie Sanders staff member who tweeted a ‘joke’ about him dying from AIDS.

Ben Mora, Bernie Sanders’ former regional field director for Michigan, was fired after it was revealed that he ran a private Twitter account in which he slammed other Democratic presidential candidates, especially Pete Buttigieg.

He said Buttigieg is “is what happens when the therapist botches the conversion” and said he could never “trust buttigieg because he combined the natural devious disposition inherent in gay men with a bloodthirsty careerist drive”.

Mora also tweeted of Elizabeth Warren: ““When [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren talks about how she knows she’s Native American because of her ‘high cheekbones’ where sis? Another lie. You look like shit.”

In another tweet, he uploaded two (gorgeous) photos of Jonathan, who proudly came out as HIV positive last year, alongside the caption: “Jonathon Van Ness trying to look hot while Daddy Ronald Reagan watches him die of AIDS.”

The tweet was in reference to Jonathan’s comments about Bernie Sanders’ politics back in 2018.

“Ronald Reagan, could he be bothered to mention HIV/AIDS?” he said in a video alongside his fellow Queer Eye cast members. “No, but he could be bothered to put some gel in his hair, and I just feel like that is a thing.”

After Mora’s tweets became public, Jonathan criticised the Sanders campaign for allowing his behaviour to slide by, writing on Twitter: “This is the tweet a former Bernie staffer tweeted from a locked account.

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

Jonathan continued to say the online abuse he receives is “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,” he explained. “I’m done taking it & not calling it out.”

Mike Casca, communications director for the Sanders campaign, told the Beast that they are “running a multiracial, multigenerational campaign for justice” and “disgusting behaviour and ugly personal attacks by our staff” will not be tolerated.

Sanders also told a journalist that it was “disgusting, we don’t want that crap” and said “this is now what this campaign is about”.

Related: Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness to campaign for Elizabeth Warren in Iowa.