Members of and allies to Hollywood's LGBTQ+ community, including one of Candace Candace Bure's former costars, are speaking out after the Fuller House star sparked controversy with a comment about telling stories centered on "traditional marriage."
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Monday, Cameron Bure shared how her projects with the Christian faith-based Great American Family network (GAF) will differ from the increasingly inclusive content seen on her former network, the Hallmark Channel.
"I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core," said Cameron Bure, 46.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty; Kevork Djansezian/Getty
Disapproval of the sentiment quickly bubbled up online, and Cameron Bure's former Full House costar Jodie Sweetin even showed her support for JoJo Siwa, when the Dance Moms alum criticized Cameron Bure's "rude and hurtful" remark.
"Honestly, I can't believe ... she would not only create a movie with intention of excluding LGBTQIA+, but then also talk about it in the press," the 19-year-old, who identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in 2021, wrote on Instagram. "This is rude and hurtful to a whole community of people."
In response to Siwa's post, Sweetin posted the comment: "You know I love you ❤️❤️"
Ronald Martinez/Getty; Paul Archuleta/Getty JoJo Siwa (left) and Candace Cameron Bure
Several other stars also reacted to Siwa's post, with Dance Moms costar Maddie Ziegler writing, "Go off jojo!!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️"
Alyssa Milano added, "Thank you for being such a positive role model for my children. Love you so much."
Holly Robinson Peete, who has also starred in several Hallmark films, noted that Cameron Bure's comments are "disappointing but not surprising."
"Go make the content that you want to make but why insist on castigating others? It's the judgment for me," wrote Pete, 58. "As a proud mom of an lgbtqia person, the traditional marriage quote stung. Proud to be on Hallmark channel which understands the importance of diversity and inclusion of EVERYONE 🌈🌈🌈"
Jason Kempin/Getty Maren Morris
"The Middle" singer dropped a cheeky comment on a Instagram post shared by influencer Matt Bernstein: "Make DJ Gay Again," simultaneously referencing Cameron Bure's Full House character DJ Tanner and adding an irreverent spin on former President Donald Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."
LISA O'CONNOR/AFP/Getty Hilarie Burton
Fellow Hallmark veteran Hilarie Burton Morgan also weighed in — specifically challenging a comment by former Hallmark head Bill Abbott, who now runs GAF in Monday's WSJ article.
"It's certainly the year 2022, so we're aware of the trends," Abbott said about inclusive programming. "There's no whiteboard that says, 'Yes, this' or 'No, we'll never go here.'"
Burton, 40, tweeted in part: "Being LGBTQ isn't a 'trend.' That guy and his network are disgusting. You too [Candace]. There is nothing untraditional about same-sex couples."
Hallmark star Jonathan Bennett spoke with PEOPLE about his network's move toward more inclusive storytelling. "What I love so much about Hallmark Channel is the care they take in the quality of telling the story, especially when it involves LGBTQ+ people, it's handled with so much respect," the Mean Girls actor, 41, told Breanne L. Heldman on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast.
Emphasizing Hallmark's commitment to elevating all voices both on camera and behind the scenes, Bennett added, "It's just been an unwavering amount of support from the network on telling the story and wanting to tell it and letting us do it how we want."
He also spoke with PEOPLE at Tuesday night's red carpet for the upcoming Hulu series Welcome to Chippendales, emphasizing, "I'm just so proud to be part of Hallmark channel that does such inclusive programming. ... I'm just proud to be making movies for everyone to watch at Christmas, because Christmas is for everybody."
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Fire Island star Matt Rogers had some tougher words for the Aurora Teagarden actress when he spoke with PEOPLE at the OUT100 Celebration in New York City on Wednesday night.
"I've come to expect very little from Candace Cameron Bure, so what I'm doing with Candace Cameron Bure and a lot of other big stars of the past is I'm paying them absolute f---in' dust. I think as long as these people are out there, and they're still espousing their same bulls---, just ignore them, 'cause they'll hate that more than anything else."
Rogers, who is gay, continued of potential projects with GAF: "If they move away from 'traditional couples,' then I would love — and listen, they're missing out on some great talent if they want to shove queer people out."
Peloton favorite Cody Rigsby shared Rogers' sentiments one the OUT100 red carpet.
"I don't think so," he told PEOPLE of a future gig on GAF. "I don't think that will be happening at all."
Of Cameron Bure, he said, "My gosh. If you want to make content that's for you, go ahead, girl. No problem. But you didn't need to specifically exclude us for no reason. If you want to make whatever content you want to make, sure, but you don't have to purposely make sure LGBTQ+ people aren't represented."
Bure responded to several points raised by her critics in a statement shared with PEOPLE.
"All of you who know me, know beyond question that I have great love and affection for all people. It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would ever think I intentionally would want to offend and hurt anyone," she began.
She explained, "I am a devoted Christian. Which means that I believe that every human being bears the image of God. Because of that, I am called to love all people, and I do. ... My heart yearns to build bridges and bring people one step closer to God, to love others well, and to simply be a reflection of God's huge love for all of us."
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Bure said she also expressed in the WSJ interview that "people of all ethnicities and identities have and will continue to contribute to the network in great ways both in front of and behind the camera," adding that she will "encourage and fully support." But Bure said this part was "not included" in the final story.
The conservative actress recently ended a long tenure with Hallmark that resulted in more than 20 movies. Upon joining GAF, she was also named as chief creative officer.