As reality TV continues to be an increasingly popular entertainment venue, the stars of these shows find themselves having to walk precarious lines between their curated personas and their real-life identities. This has certainly been the case for Joanna and Chip Gaines, a celebrity couple who have managed to mold their fame as reality TV stars in the home improvement genre into bona fide media moguls in their own right.
Along the way, the pair have deftly maneuvered to avoid answering questions about their political affiliations. Perhaps they’re afraid that any statement would isolate a large swath of their fandom, but some have pointed to their confusing actions as a sign they may be hiding political views that wouldn’t sit well with the public.
Joanna and Chip Gaines give wishy-washy answers about politics
When asked about their political affiliation, the Gaineses have clearly practiced responses. As a Variety interview revealed, they have tried to actively dodge any particular label or association.
“We want people to not think of us as right-wing or left-wing or moderates or versions of those concepts in between, and just look at us as human beings that are looking out for the betterment of other human beings,” Chip Gaines explained.
Joanna Gaines added a similar sentiment: “Do we all have to agree on everything? No. Do we need to understand and value and respect others? Yes, of course!”
While these platitudes sound superficially acceptable, critics have pointed to the Gaineses’ actions (and inactions) as evidence of more concrete beliefs.
The Gaineses have faced social backlash and accusations
Back in 2021, the Gaineses were featured in The Hollywood Reporter, and they used that interview to try to set the record straight amid accusations of racism and homophobia. Joanna Gaines shared during the discussion:
“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 accusations, however, didn’t come out of nowhere. The couple filmed a video with the pastor of their church, Jimmy Seibert. Seibert and the Antioch Community Church became the center of heated controversy when the pastor’s comments condemning same-sex marriage went public, as insiders reports.
Amid this backlash, critics pointed out that a same-sex couple had never been featured on the Gaineses’ famous show Fixer Upper. Ace The Hill reports, the couples’ donation history includes support for the school board race in which Chip Gaines’ sister ran on a platform condemning a critical race theory curriculum.
The couple has also been at the center of a heated debate about the property development and trends they’ve marshaled into their hometown of Waco. The rising housing costs have displaced families and caused a “violent” disturbance to the community, according to some residents.
The Gaineses have also made some progressive moves
While critics point to some signs that the Gaineses may have conservative ties, they have also noted moves that seem more overtly progressive. Joanna Gaines, whose racial background includes Korean heritage, has spoken about her own experiences with racial diversity. “The gift of growing up different that you really get is empathy,” she told Variety.
The Gaineses snowballed their reality TV success into the launch of their very own entertainment network called Magnolia, and that has given them the chance to find and work with new talent. They call them “storytellers” and consciously work to bring on voices with a variety of perspectives, including highlighting minority voices.
While the Gaineses’ superficial comments about politics may be dissatisfying to fans who want an answer, the couple may be making the wisest choices. Reality TV, like the shows that made them famous and those they feature on their own network, has broad appeal across political lines. When so much of America is starkly divided, playing it safe by not overtly alienating any political group may be the wisest business decision.
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