The “Queer Eye” star cited Russia’s anti-LGBTQIA propaganda laws and Chechnya’s treatment of LGBTQIA citizens.
“What’s good @nickiminaj, this should’ve been a hard pass,” he wrote.
Van Ness’ use of “What’s good” echoes Minaj’s own famous callout of Miley Cyrus at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, after Cyrus made comments about Minaj in a New York Times interview.
In 2013, Russia put in place a statute banning distribution of materials that promote LGBT relationships among minors. Because of the way the law is written, it effectively became a total ban on the gay rights movement and any public expression of the culture.
Most recently, this law led to authorities in March 2018 banning the country’s largest gay website, Gay.ru, because of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships.”
In his reference to Chechnya, Van Ness was talking about Chechen authorities in 2017 arresting men whom they suspected to be gay and torturing them in concentration camps. At least 100 gay men were arrested and subject to treatment like starvation, electroshock and beatings. Some of them died as a result.
Minaj shared images of herself in the Harper’s Bazaar spread, but did not publicly address Van Ness’ comments. She did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Many on social media, however, did respond to Van Ness’ criticisms with their own thoughts. Some argued that Russian citizens are different from the Russian government and that they deserve to see musicians they enjoy on their magazines.
Van Ness’ fellow “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown also weighed in:
Van Ness followed up his initial tweet, responding to one person who questioned why he’d criticized Minaj for her Harper’s Bazaar Russia shoot but not models Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell. He said: “I’m not here for anybody doin it bae & Kate Moss & Naomi are British but equally uncool.”
In another tweet, Van Ness said he “didn’t mean to start a Twitter war.”
“I’m just disappointed in some people from where I’m sitting in life & start noticing things. Biggest hug to eryone,” he wrote.
Hmm… We wonder what Nicki will say.