Chip and Joanna Gaines say allegations that they are racist and anti-LGBTQ are unfounded.
The Magnolia founders became stars on “Fixer Upper,” but the show never focused on a same-sex couple. The Gaineses also raised eyebrows earlier this year after they donated money to Chip’s sister campaign, who is against teaching critical race theory, for a school board position in Texas, according to a new story in The Hollywood Reporter.
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While Chip and Joanna did not comment on those instances, Joanna says the reactions from people bother her.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Can I just make a statement?’” she told THR. “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.”
Joanna herself comes from a mixed background and has said she was bullied as a child.
"My mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian," Gaines told Darling magazine in 2018. "Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian, and when you’re that age, you don’t know really how to process that. The way you take that is, 'Who I am isn’t good enough.'"
She also said her mother was the target of hate.
“My mom is so tough, but with one look or comment, I would just see her shut down,” she told THR. “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. That’s the last thing I want anyone to ever feel.”
The couple, whose new Magnolia Network launches later this month, say they strive to be inclusive.
“As an American white male, it’s hard to be perfectly diverse,” Chip said. “In our own company, we’ve got nearly 700 employees, and one of our biggest passions is making this group represent all people.”
Chip and Joanna have spoken about race before.
"Joanna and I have personal convictions," Chip wrote in a 2017 blog post. "One of them is this: We care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith."
Last year, the couple and their five children appeared on “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” with Emmanuel Acho, who commended their decision to question their choice to teach their kids to be colorblind.
“I think that it’s best that we raise our kids to see color because there’s a beauty in color and there’s a beauty in culture,” Acho said.
“Our kids here, our five, and each one of them have a different look, each one of them have a different eye color," Chip said. "But, you know, each one of our kids have these uniquenesses and maybe to your point, it’s OK to highlight those things, you know?”
“The world needs who we were ALL made to be and all the amazing and beautiful differences we each bring with us," she wrote on Instagram.
"Maybe if we say it enough, it will ring true and become the message that softens even the hardest of hearts," she added.
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: