Lance Bass Distances Himself from Vanderpump Rules' Jax Taylor: Bravo Is 'Draining the Swamp'
On Monday's episode of Bass' The Daily Popcast, the *NYSYNC singer, 41, said that he's tried to have conversations with Taylor, 40, about his past actions.
A few years back, Taylor commented on a photo of 90 Day Fiancé star Ashley Smith and her husband Jay, who is black, saying, "Wow. Your boyfriend's nose is as big as his head," The Blast reported.
The comment sparked backlash from fans for feeding into racist stereotypes of black people.
"I actually had a conversation about this with him yesterday, and I feel like I'm the only person that he actually heard it from," said Bass, who officiated Taylor's wedding to Brittany Cartwright. "He was like, 'I don't understand this big nose thing! Jewish people have big noses.'"
Bass said he told Taylor: "'Well yeah, you can't make fun of Jewish or black people for their noses.' He just could not see it."
But Taylor rep denies the exchange happened that way. "Jax and Lance were on a call with two other people from their team as well. Those words never came out of Jax’s mouth. Those allegations are totally false,” his rep tells PEOPLE, adding that she was personally on the conference call.
Taylor and Cartwright were recently called out by former Vanderpump Rules star Faith Stowers, who infamously cheated with the bartender in season 6. Stowers claimed Cartwright made a racist remark once about her during an argument. Cartwright denied this, writing on social media, "She knows I don't have a racist bone in my body."
Also, in a resurfaced tweet from 2017, Taylor falsely claimed that Stowers was "wanted by police," writing, "Someone's going to jail," after Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute spotted a tabloid article about a black woman wanted for theft and called the police to pin the crimes on her. (Both women have apologized and were fired by Bravo last week.)
Former Vanderpump Rules star Billie Lee recently claimed that Jax "refused to film with me because I was trans and I called him out on his white cis privilege." (A source pointed out the two did share scenes together.) And Bass stepped in as Taylor and Cartwright's wedding officiant last summer after they fired their original pastor for posting homophobic posts on social media — a central storyline that tore the cast apart this season on VPR.
As a result of the controversy, Bass said Taylor has decided to step back from their at-home cocktail mixers business, Just Add X, which they officially launched last month.
"He's stepping down from Just Add X, which, we — you have to. We can't be involved and associated with any of this going down, we have to do the right thing," Bass said.
However, Taylor's rep denies that he is stepping down from Just Add X.
“Last week the Just Add X website had been hacked, showcasing some hateful slurs, which Jax felt horrible about. In an emotional state, Jax had texted Lance and the Just Add X team offering to step down from the company if that was the direction they wanted to take," his rep tells PEOPLE in a statement. "The team immediately followed up with a phone call with Lance and the team reassured and fully supported him. It was decided that Jax would continue to stay on the team and that they all had his back given these unpredictable times."
"The statements from Lance on the podcast today are not only untrue but also extremely confusing and shocking to say the least. Jax is still very much a partner and founder of Just Add X and supports the team and the brand whole-heartedly," Taylor's rep adds. "This has been a tough time for everyone involved, especially with the critical state of Brittany’s mother in the ICU, their focus has been on that.”
On his podcast, Bass also predicted that Taylor's time on Bravo will soon come to an end. "I do not see Bravo keeping him," he said. "I think soon it’ll be done because this will keep getting bigger and bigger. It’s going to cost him everything." (Bravo did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment regarding Taylor's status on the show.)
The pop star expressed his support of the network's decision to fire Schroeder, Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni.
"We've seen these characters on Vanderpump Rules. We've loved them, we've hated them. We think they are ridiculous. We think they're racist. It's a lot of ignorance around reality television people," he said. "But in this case, I understand what Bravo is doing. They are draining the swamp. It's so necessary to teach a lesson right now. Yeah, it sucks to get fired for a tweet from two years ago, but you made the bed now you gotta lay in it. You are the example. You're going to have to fall on the sword and lay on it."
In a statement to PEOPLE on June 9, Bravo confirmed that Schroeder, 31, and Doute, 37, will not be returning to the reality series, on which they have both starred since the show's debut in 2013.
New cast members Boyens and Caprioni — whose years-old racist tweets resurfaced last winter — will also not be coming back.
“Bravo and Evolution Media confirmed today that Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni will not be returning to Vanderpump Rules," the network said.
RELATED: Brittany Cartwright Says She Had 'Nothing to Do' with Racist Comments About Faith Stowers' Hair
Their exits come days after Schroeder and Doute both posted lengthy statements on Instagram in response to the incident with Stowers, which resurfaced, during an Instagram Live chat between Stowers and Floribama Shore star Candace Rice.
"There was this article on Daily Mail where there was an African American lady. It was a weird photo, so she looked very light-skinned and had these different, weird tattoos. They showcased her, and I guess this woman was robbing people," Stowers said during the June 2 conversation. "And they called the cops and said it was me. This is like, a true story. I heard this from actually Stassi during an interview."
In 2018, Schroeder confirmed calling the cops about Stowers during an appearance on the Bitch Bible podcast. At the time, Doute tweeted a link to a news story about the woman at large at the time, writing, "hey tweeties, doesn't this ex #pumprules thief look familiar? someone put her on mtv & gave her a platform for press. I didn't wanna go there but I'm going there."
"Racially insensitive comments from my past have resurfaced. It is important that I continue to take accountability for what I have said and done, while pushing myself to do better," Schroeder said in her statement. "I have grown significantly from the person I was then, and I am still filled with remorse and regret for the hurt I caused. I am grateful for the people in my life that continue to check me and push me to evolve into a more educated person."
Doute wrote: "I have been taking some time to really process what I've been seeing, feeling and learning. And I need to address something specifically that happened a few years ago with my former castmate, Faith Stowers."
"Although, my actions were not racially driven, I am now completely aware of how my privilege blinded me from the reality of law enforcement's treatment of the black community, and how dangerous my actions would have been to her," she added. "It never was my intention to add to the injustice and imbalance. I'm ashamed, embarrassed, and incredibly sorry. I will do better. I have to do better."