As the fourth season of the HGTV hit show Fixer Upper premiered, hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines found themselves at the center of some controversy. BuzzFeed reported this week that the Gaines’ pastor, Jimmy Seibert, opposes same-sex marriage and has called homosexuality a “sin.”
Though this doesn’t mean that Chip and Joanna themselves hold anti-gay views, Fixer Upper has yet to feature a same-sex couple on the show (while fellow HGTV shows like House Hunters have). Despite not responding to BuzzFeed's initial request for comment, HGTV has issued a statement affirming the network’s commitment to LGBT rights:
We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows. HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.
Chip Gaines also obliquely addressed the controversy on Twitter, posting inspirational messages about getting through crises. He said he was helping a goat deliver and used the goats on his farm as “counselors.” “They seem to think everything is going to be ok,” he joked.
This isn’t the first time that HGTV has been under a microscope for anti-LGBT controversies. House flippers David and Jason Benham, known as the Benham brothers, lost a show they were working on in 2014 after David Benham spoke out against homosexuality. “Chip and Joanna Gaines are a wonderful family. They’re pro-God, pro-Bible, they’re pro-people, they’re pro-Jesus,” they said on Facebook, noting that Chip supported them when their show got pulled. “What’s happening right now is a witch hunt. […] They don’t hate anybody, we don’t hate anybody, let’s just keep standing strong.”
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