There’s no denying that Candace Cameron Bure has become a key figure in opposition to the LGBTQ agenda in Hollywood whether she likes it or not.
Examining Bure’s original comments that set off a firestorm reveals nothing homophobic, hateful, rude, or close-minded. In fact, the 46-year-old “Full House” alum and the head of Great American Family TV network (GAF) Bill Abbott even left the door open for alternative lifestyle content in the future.
That doesn’t matter, though. In today’s climate, the mere fact that GAF’s Christmas movie lineup doesn’t include same-sex storylines right now is enough to ostracize Bure even further from her celebrity peers. Big-name stars are speaking out against her, mainstream media outlets are furious, and the Twitter mob has come out in force.
It’s all because the former Hallmark actress said GAF movies will focus on “traditional marriage” between one man and one woman – for now.
The controversy reached a fever pitch in mid-November when The Wall Street Journal released an interview with Bure during which she discussed her motivations for leaving The Hallmark Channel for GAF. Prior to her departure, Bure’s career had flourished as she starred in over two dozen films for Hallmark, with more than 10 of them Christmas-themed.
Then Bure announced she was following former Hallmark CEO Abbott to GAF, where she’d be acting and producing projects of a similar nature.
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” the actress told WSJ of making the switch. “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.”
The “Full House” star spoke glowingly of GAF’s mission without dissing her former network. But then the interviewer asked Bure if there were any plans for same-sex storylines at GAF. She responded that there were not.
“I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” the actress replied. Abbott chimed in, saying gay romances weren’t in the plans, but also weren’t explicitly forbidden. “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,’” he told the publication.
This comment set off the activists, who were furious that Bure would dare vocalize what she was so clearly doing. The interview was released just as The Hallmark Channel gets ready to debut their first-ever Christmas movie feature two gay characters in the leading roles. “The Holiday Sitter” premieres December 11.
The network had included gay characters in their films before but never as the featured storyline. Hallmark is responding to intense pressure from LGBTQ advocacy groups and had recently declared their aim of “creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
Besides the Hallmark push, there’s another likely reason the WSJ interviewer asked about gay couples during the interview. Abbott left Hallmark just after a controversy that arose when he refused to air a commercial for the wedding planning site Zola that featured two women kissing. The TV exec never cited that incident as his reason for leaving Hallmark for GAF, but it was rumored to be a major factor.
Meanwhile, George Zaralidis, VP of network programming for Hallmark parent company Crown Media Family, told NBC in 2020 that “diversity and inclusion” was “a top priority” and that they “[looked] forward to making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors.”
Shortly after that announcement, Abbott stepped down to join what was then called Great American Channel and ostensibly create a more traditionally-focused rival to go up against the progressive Hallmark Channel.
His next order of business was recruiting big-name stars to help make the network successful. Bure was one of the biggest scores for GAF.
The “Full House” alum is well-liked in the Hollywood community, but her comments about focusing on “traditional marriage” while working for GAF have inspired many fellow celebrities to speak out against her.
For example, “One Tree Hill” actress Hilarie Burton bluntly referred to Bure as a “bigot” for her remarks.
“I don’t remember Jesus liking hypocrites like Candy. But sure. Make your money, honey. You ride that prejudice wave all the way to the bank,” Burton tweeted.
“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. This is rude and hurtful to a whole community of people,” pop star JoJo Siwa, who came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in 2021, shared on Instagram.
Bure’s former “Full House” co-star Jodie Sweeten indirectly slammed her former on-screen sister by responding to Siwa’s post with a comment saying, “You know I love you.”
Football player and self-described “queer jew fairy in stiletto nails” Matt Bernstein posted, “You went decades without ever having to see an LGBTQ character on screen. Now, we’re in 1 out of 5 movies. Sorry if this disturbs you. Sending thoughts and prayers,” to which country star Maren Morris wrote, “Make DJ Gay Again,” referring to Bure’s “Full House” character.
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Ellis said Bure’s comments were “irresponsible and hurtful.”
The backlash got so extreme that Bure decided to post a statement to clarify her position. She didn’t apologize, but instead reiterated the Christian perspective of loving everyone, including her enemies.
“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,” Bure shared.
“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.”
Bure described herself as a “devoted Christian” who believes that “every human being bears the image of God.”
“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.
The actress addressed her critics with a message of love.
“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,” Bure wrote. “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.”
She said her projects aren’t aimed at “proselytizing” but are meant to be “celebrating God’s greatness in our lives.”
While no mainstream celebrities have spoken up in Bure’s defense yet, the mom of three did receive some kind words courtesy of her 24-year-old daughter. Natasha Bure shared in her Instagram stories some of her “favorite thing[s]” about her mom.
“How much she loves Jesus and how firm in her faith she stands,” Natasha wrote. “She is bold. She is kind. She is so creative and has one of the greatest hearts. I look up to her in many, many ways. I love you, @candacebure.”