Chip and Joanna Gaines are about the most prolific home renovation personalities in America right now, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the two have built an empire so large that they're finally launching the Magnolia Network, their much-anticipated television channel, in July. On the other, the two have found themselves in the news for both good and bad things and have faced criticism and accusations of supporting racism and anti-LGBTQ initiatives.
The Gaines have never publicly spoken out against either issue but filmed a conversation with a local pastor who openly denounces LGBTQ rights and donated to Chip Gaines' sister's school board campaign months before she came out against critical race theory. The couple didn't offer comment to THR about either incident specifically, but Joanna Gaines was tearful when asked about the accusations of being racist or anti-LGBTQ came up.
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.
While it is true that the original Fixer Upper has never featured a same-sex couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines noted the Magnolia Network has made efforts to take a step in a more progressive direction. Many of the new series star people of color, and one launch program will feature an openly gay host. It's a shakeup from the type of talent that usually headlines HGTV, and also worth noting that the Gaines weren't the decision-makers on their previous network.
Joanna Gaines, as some are aware, is biracial with both an Asian and Caucasian parent. Gaines briefly spoke about her experience with race as a child and how her mother and family faced harassment as they grew up in Kansas and Texas.
My mom is so tough, but with one look or comment, I would just see her shut down. That’s why she didn’t know how to help me when I would come home and say, ‘So-and-so called me this.’ 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.
Audiences can draw their own conclusions about Chip and Joanna Gaines' track record but can take solace in the fact that the Magnolia Network does appear to be a progressive channel in terms of representation. Going forward, the couple seems committed to perhaps steering away from the narrative about how they're perceived and hoping to prove through future actions who they really are as people.
The Magnolia Network will officially launch on Thursday, July 15. For more on Chip and Joanna Gaines, check out what went down when viewers thought the couple were feuding with some other home renovation show stars.