Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have responded to past claims of racism and homophobia, as they promote their new TV network Magnolia which will be more diverse than their hit HGTV show.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Joanna, 43, who has been married to Chip, 46, since 2003, was said to be on the verge of tears when talking about being criticized on the subject.
In 2016, the show caught backlash for featuring a local pastor who had openly denounced LGBTQ rights, as well as never having featured any same-sex couples throughout the series.
Then, in May this year, Chip and Joanna were attacked online for donating $1,000 to his sister’s hardline anti-critical race theory school board election campaign.
Holding back tears, Joanna told the publication: ‘Sometimes I’m like, “Can I just make a statement?”… the accusations that get thrown at you, like you’re a racist or you don’t like people in the LGBTQ community, that’s the stuff that really eats my lunch – because it’s so far from who we really are. That’s the stuff that keeps me up.’
However, the former HGTV megastars had previously stayed silent on both matters.
The profile claims that their new venture, the Magnolia network, will feature people of color and there will be ‘at least one show with openly queer talent at its center.’
‘As an American white male, it’s hard to be perfectly diverse,’ Chip also told the publication, weighing in on the topic of diversity.
He added: ‘In our own company, we’ve got nearly 700 employees, and one of our biggest passions is making this group represent all people.’
But the article makes a point of recognizing that the Gaineses are a mixed-race family, and that last year Chip made an appearance on the podcast Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man to talk about the brutal murder of George Floyd.
Joanna has also spoken out over the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans, but tells THR that she is rarely asked about the subject herself.
She talks about mother Nan who emigrated from Seoul, South Korea, in 1972, and recounts the harassment they endured growing up in Kansas and Texas.
‘My mom is so tough, but with one look or comment, I would just see her shut down,’ she explains. ‘That’s why she didn’t know how to help me when I would come home and say, “So-and-so called me this.”‘
‘It was also happening to her. Growing up as half-Asian, half-Caucasian, I get what that feels like to not be accepted and to not be loved. That’s the last thing I want anyone to ever feel.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Joanna addresses why they decided to quit their show Fixer Upper in 2017, despite the fact it was drawing a huge audience of 16.6million viewers a week for HGTV.
‘We realized we didn’t necessarily love that side of the camera, and that part became a full-time job,’ Joanna said. ‘We’ve got a big family. We’ve got a business. The show ended up where we had to constantly be feeding it.’
Chip and Joanna, who live in Waco, Texas with their five children, are now taking the fame they found on HGTV to launch a brand called Magnolia.
The opportunity was given to them by Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav who spoke to THR about the couple’s incredible popularity.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail – George Stark