The actor Candace Cameron Bure is facing backlash following her recent comments about her new TV project that she said will prioritize portraying “traditional marriage.”
Cameron Bure, 46, the former “Full House” star, made the remarks in a recently published interview with The Wall Street Journal Magazine. A reporter asked whether Great American Family, the new cable network she joined after she left the Hallmark Channel this year, would feature same-sex couples as leads in holiday movies.
According to The Journal, Cameron Bure said no.
“I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she told the magazine.
On its social media pages, Great American Family describes its programming as “celebrating faith, family and country.” The channel is owned by Great American Media, a company started by Bill Abbott, a former executive of a Hallmark subsidiary.
Abbott gave The Wall Street Journal a different answer from Cameron Bure’s: “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.’”
At Hallmark, Abbott came under fire for having been involved in the decision to pull a commercial for the wedding-planning site Zola that featured a lesbian couple kissing. That led to the hashtag #BoycottHallmark — and Abbott’s leaving his role as CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. (NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, and Comcast Ventures are investors in Zola. Comcast owns NBCUniversal.)
Representatives for Great American Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a September interview with Variety, Cameron Bure said she would have an “executive role” at the network and act in its films.
She also said leaving Hallmark was a business decision she made after her contract was up for renewal.
In recent years, the channel has made efforts to diversify its characters, notably in the 2020 film “The Christmas House,” which features a gay couple looking to adopt their first child. A lesbian wedding was also featured in the Hallmark film “Wedding Every Weekend” that year.
A gay couple will also star in “The Holiday Sitter,” premiering on the channel next month.
Backlash to Cameron Bure’s comments was swift among celebrities and LGBTQ advocates.
JoJo Siwa, the 19-year-old YouTube star and performer who came out as gay last year, condemned her statement on Instagram.
“Honestly, I can’t believe after everything that went down just a few months ago, that she would not only create a movie with intention of excluding LGBTQIA+, but then also talk about it in the press,” Siwa wrote in the caption. “This is rude and hurtful to a whole community of people.”
Siwa in July called Cameron Bure the “rudest celebrity” she had ever met in a viral TikTok video that has since been deleted, NBC’s “TODAY” reported. Cameron Bure apologized and said the two had spoken, according to “TODAY.”
Several celebrities and LGBTQ influencers voiced their support for Siwa’s post in the comments, among them TikTok personality Josh Helfgott and actor Mollee Gray, who wrote: “this is the only way she can stay “relevant” … so ready to take her down ;).”
One of Cameron Bure’s former “Full House” co-stars, Jodie Sweetin, who played the character of Stephanie Tanner on the show, wrote to Siwa: “You know I love you ❤️❤️.”
Sweetin also shared several resources to support LGBTQ people on her Instagram story, where she shared posts from the group transanta, which provides gifts to trans youths, encouraging her followers to donate, and the LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, urging followers to support a bill that would codify legal same-sex marriage nationwide.
Sweetin’s representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Cameron Bure attended Sweetin’s wedding this summer, according to a photo she shared on Instagram.
The president and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, said Cameron Bure’s comments were “irresponsible and hurtful,” alleging she was using “tradition as a guide for exclusion.”
“Bure is out of sync with a growing majority of people of faith, including LGBTQ people of faith, who know that LGBTQ couples and families are deserving of love and visibility,” she said, adding that she’d “love to have a conversation with Bure about my wife, our kids, and our family’s traditions.”
Ellis shared those comments on Twitter a day after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Tuesday it would support proposed federal legislation to protect same-sex marriages, although it would continue to oppose same-sex marriage through official church doctrine.
“If [Great American Family’s] plan is to intentionally exclude stories about LGBTQ couples, then actors, advertisers, cable and streaming platforms, and production companies should take note and seriously consider whether they want to be associated with a network that holds exclusion as one of its values,” Ellis added.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon following the backlash, Cameron Bure called herself a “devoted Christian” who has “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,” she said. “It saddens me that the media is often seeking to divide us, even around a subject as comforting and merry as Christmas movies.”
Cameron Bure also claimed the Journal omitted from the story remarks she made “that people of all ethnicities and identities have and will continue to contribute to [Great American Family] in great ways both in front of and behind the camera, which I encourage and fully support.”
A rep for the Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.