Actor Neal Bledsoe announced plans to cut ties with the Great American Family (GAF) network over recent comments from outspoken Christian actress Candace Cameron Bure.
Bledsoe said that in order to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, he felt he had no choice but to leave the network. His comments come after Bure said that the GAF would focus on stories about traditional marriage.
“My life wouldn’t be where it is today without the love, support, and guidance of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Bledsoe began in a lengthy statement published Monday by Variety, explaining that his life had often been guided and shaped by friends and mentors who were a part of that community and he owed them his unwavering support.
“As someone who struggled as a young man with our society’s extremely narrow definition of masculinity, it was their community that provided me with refuge and a guiding light when my life felt lost. And now, if I cannot stand up for that community in their time of need, my debt to them means nothing,” he continued. “So, I want to be very clear: my support for the LGBTQIA+ community is unconditional – nothing is worth my silence or their ability to live and love freely in a world that we are lucky enough to share with them.”
Bledsoe went on to say that he had stepped back from promoting the Christmas movie he just made with GAF, saying that he could not go ahead with supporting a network that he believed was fostering exclusion and division.
The issue at heart, Bledsoe argued, was not that he didn’t believe that the people behind GAF did not have the right to free speech. His problem was that an executive had spoken “about deliberate exclusion on behalf of an entire network.”
Bledsoe did not rule out working with GAF in the future, but said that as long as the executives remained on their current trajectory, it was not likely to happen any time soon.
“As an artist, I yearn to be proud of the work I create. But, the thought that my work could be used to deliberately discriminate against anyone horrifies and infuriates me,” he said. “I hope GAF will change, but until everyone can be represented in their films with pride, my choice is clear. I look forward to working with creators who put no limits on the stories we tell and follow through on their message of values with open arms.”
Bure responded to the backlash from her comments, saying that her intent was to continue to love all people, even if they hated everything she stood for.