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Chip and Joanna Gaines address race, anti-LGBT criticism; commit to inclusion on new network

Chip and Joanna Gaines
Chip and Joanna Gaines "Fixer Upper" reboot, 2020 |

As Chip and Joanna Gaines get ready for the full launch of their Magnolia Network, the couple addressed allegations that they are racist, anti-LGBT and lacked diversity on their hit series. 

In a profile piece in The Hollywood Reporter, the professing Christian couple was asked why they've never featured same-sex couples on their home renovation series “Fixer Upper." 

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Can I just make a statement?'" Joanna said while "tearing up a little," the publication described.  

“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," she said. "That’s the stuff that keeps me up.”

Joanna is of mixed raced and said she, too, experienced harassment as a child for being different. 

“My mom is so tough, but with one look or comment, I would just see her shut down,” she recalled of her South Korean mother. “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," she continued. "That’s the last thing I want anyone to ever feel.”

In 2016, the Waco, Texas-based couple faced criticism for attending Antioch Community Church led by Jimmy Seibert. Pastor Seibert openly condemned homosexuality as a sin following the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.

Last year, during the height of social unrest and riots nationwide, Chip, Joanna and their children were featured on Emmanuel Acho's YouTube series "Conversations with a Black Man." During the conversation, the Gaineses discussed their desire to teach their children about race.

The couple came under fire earlier this year after they donated $1,000 to a campaign led by Chip's sister, who was running for the school board in Fort Worth, Texas. Shortly after the donation, his sister spoke out against teaching critical race theory in schools.

The couple are preparing for the launch of their Magnolia network coming July 15 on Discovery+. The network will launch on cable next year. 

In the Hollywood Reporter interview, Chip maintained that they want their new network to reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“As an American white male, it’s hard to be perfectly diverse,” he said. “In our own company, we’ve got nearly 700 employees, and one of our biggest passions is making this group represent all people.”

The shows included on Magnolia Network will feature hosts from different backgrounds. Jonathan Morris, a black man, is the host of the series “Self Employed," while the show “Road to Launch” with Jamila Norman is led by a woman of color. Openly gay interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn also has a show on the Magnolia Network.

Chip and Joanna have also brought back “Fixer Upper” in a reboot for their network. The series featuring the home renovation experts officially launched the network earlier this year. 

“Fixer Upper,” the original series, ended in 2018 after five successful seasons on HGTV. At the time, Chip and Joanna announced they were ending their show to focus on their family.

The show became one of the most-watched cable telecasts in 2017 as homeowners across the country took to renovating and decorating their homes to mimic the Gaineses' style. 

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