Candace Cameron Bure is responding to the backlash. Earlier this week, the actor, who serves as Great American Family’s chief creative officer, told “WSJ. Magazine” that the network will not be featuring LGBTQ couples, noting, ““I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she said.
CEO Bill Abbott added, “It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends. There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.'”
On Wednesday, Bure responded to the many criticisms of her remarks in a lengthy statement:
“I would like to address my comments on Great American Family’s programming as reported in ‘The Wall Street Journal.’ 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. It saddens me that the media is often seeking to divide us, even around a subject as comforting and merry as Christmas movies. But, given the toxic climate in our culture right now, I shouldn’t be surprised. We need Christmas more than ever,” she wrote. “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. If you know me, you know that I am a person who loves fiercely and indiscriminately. 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.”
She continued, “To the members of the media responsible for using this opportunity to fan flames of conflict and hate, I have a simple message: I love you anyway. To those who hate what I value and who are attacking me online: I love you. To those who have tried to assassinate my character: I love you. To everyone reading this, of any race, creed, sexuality, or political party, including those who have tried to bully me with name-calling, I love you.
“I have long wanted to find a home for more faith-based programming. I am grateful to be an integral part of a young and growing network. I had also expressed in my interview, which was not included, 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, which I encourage and fully support. I’ve never been interested in proselytizing through my storytelling, but in celebrating God’s greatness in our lives through the stories I tell.
The God we serve is a wildly creative and loving God. He didn’t just capture a small part of my heart, He has captured all of my heart. He will be reflected in everything I do and say; in my family, my work and my interactions with people from all walks of life, God’s love and God’s compassion is front and center. All of that comes from the LOVE that God himself showered upon humanity when he gave the gift of joy and forgiveness on the first Christmas morning 2000 years ago. It is why I love Christmas stories and sharing true joy and true peace with millions of people around the world. And in the sole motivation of pure love, I hope you’ll join me in sharing God’s hope for all the world this Christmas season. Call that my Christmas wish.”
Bure starred in dozens of holiday movies through the years for the Hallmark Channel before exiting in April and followed former Hallmark CEO Abbott to GAF. Now, she says her former home “is a completely different network than when I started because of the change of leadership.”
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” she continued. “I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment.”
In September, Bure spoke to Variety in depth about the move and whether the network would be diverse and inclusive — both in telling LGBTQ+ stories but also in celebrating different faiths, not just Christian holidays.
“This year, we’re absolutely focusing on Christmas. I’m sure as the channel continues to build content, it will include other holidays, but I think we know the core audience and what they love is exactly how Bill originally built the Hallmark Channel and that was Christmas and those traditional holidays and so that’s what the focus is going to be,” she said at the time. “You got to start somewhere. You can’t do everything at once.”
When asked if conversations were being had about same-sex storylines, she told us, “We haven’t specifically had those discussions. That isn’t completely up to me, because there is a board that are behind all of those decisions, but of course it will be talked about. And you know, we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”