Andrew Walker, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and More Hallmark Stars Send Love to Neal Bledsoe After Great American Family Exit

Ready to return to Hallmark? After Neal Bledsoe announced his plans to distance himself from Great American Family following Candace Cameron Bure and Bill Abbott’s controversial remarks about portraying “traditional marriage” on the network, several Hallmark Channel stars are showing the actor support. Bledsoe released a lengthy statement about why he stopped promoting Christmas at the Drive-In, the third movie he stars in alongside Danica McKellar, on Monday, December 5. “My life wouldn’t be where it is today without the love, support, and guidance of the LGBTQIA+ community. From my mentors in college, to the myriad of agents and managers, writers and directors, teachers and colleagues, and, of course, my dear friends and family, who have all touched my life, I owe them a great debt,” the actor told Variety, noting he “cannot continue with business as usual” in light of the controversy. “I cannot take comfort from, nor will I give refuge to, those who excuse exclusion and promote division in any way, shape, or form. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and these are mine: the recent comments made by leadership at Great American Family are hurtful, wrong, and reflect an ideology that prioritizes judgment over love,” he continued. “I was raised as a Christian, and believe in the essential message of love and forgiveness. That said, I could never forgive myself for continuing my relationship with a network that actively chooses to exclude the LGBTQIA+ community.” Bledsoe didn’t name Cameron Bure or Abbott but referenced their comments in WSJ. Magazine from last month. (While the Full House alum noted that GAF will “keep traditional marriage at the core,” the CEO noted that Great American Media is “aware of the trends” in 2022 but doesn’t plan to create LGBTQIA+ love stories.) “Freedoms of speech or religion, or even the freedom to express beliefs that I might vehemently disagree with, are not the issue here. This is about someone in an executive position speaking about deliberate exclusion on behalf of an entire network. This is why the phrase ‘traditional marriage’ is as odious as it is baffling,” Bledsoe said. “Not simply wrong in its morality, it’s also a moot point, when you consider that most romantic movies don’t feature married couples at all, nor even weddings, but simply people meeting and falling in love.” He continued: “To describe that love and the full human representation of the LGBTQIA+ community as a ‘trend’ is also both troubling and confusing. When institutions such as the Mormon Church support marriage equality, and join the vast majority of Americans who already believe in the fundamental right to love who and how we please – and when that right is about to be codified into the law of the land – one has to ask not what are the trends, but whether any organization that stands against such love would be trending toward the dustbin of history? … It galls me to think that some among us are still finding ways to justify a crueler world under the cloak of faith, tradition, or, even worse, audience share.” Prior to jumping to GAF with McKellar for two films this year, Bledsoe appeared with the Wonder Years alum on Hallmark Channel’s Coming Home for Christmas in 2017. Scroll through to see which Hallmark Channel stars have shown their support for Bledsoe: