Joanna and Chip Gaines might normally be press-shy but that doesn’t mean they don’t face their fair share of headlines.

The married couple, who went from smalltown home renovators to media moguls in less than a decade, talk to The Hollywood Reporter about some of the criticism that is especially hurtful.

THR writes that same-sex couples were never featured on their hit show “Fixer Upper”, which came to an end in 2018 at the height of its popularity, The mag also mentions the show was criticized for filming a conversation with a local pastor who has openly denounced LGBTQ rights.

The website adds, “In May, the Dallas Morning News drew attention to Chip’s sister, whose campaign for the school board in suburban Fort Worth received a $1,000 donation from the couple months before she came out against teaching critical race theory, a lightning-rod issue in the state. The Gaineses didn’t comment on either matter.”

Joanna and Chip Gaines. Photography by Harper Smith
Joanna and Chip Gaines. Photography by Harper Smith

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A tearful Joanna insists, “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.”

The pair are now launching Magnolia Network and although they’re well aware that the core audience is likely to be female and white, they insist that many series star people of colour.

They add that on launch day, there will be at least one show with openly queer talent at its centre.

“As an American white male, it’s hard to be perfectly diverse,” Chip shares. “In our own company, we’ve got nearly 700 employees, and one of our biggest passions is making this group represent all people.”

Joanna and Chip Gaines. Photography by Harper Smith
Joanna and Chip Gaines. Photography by Harper Smith

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Joanna also opens up about anti-Asian hate crime, and how her mother Nan emigrated from Seoul, South Korea, in 1972.

Growing up in Kansas and Texas, Joanna recalls: “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.’ 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.”