Actress under fire for championing traditional marriage touts new network's family-friendly content
Former Hallmark Channel star Candace Cameron Bure takes aim at media for sowing cultural division.
Actress and former Hallmark star Candace Cameron Bure is pushing back after giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal on Monday in which she signaled her new network would stick to traditional values and shun same-sex storylines.
"I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core," she told the outlet, provoking social media backlash from celebrities, including actress Hilarie Burton ("One Tree Hill"), who labeled her a "bigot," and teen YouTuber JoJo Siwa, who called her statement "rude and hurtful to a whole community of people."
Bure, who rose to fame as a child star on "Growing Pains," is the sister of actor and evangelical minister Kirk Cameron ("Growing Pains"). She left the Hallmark Channel earlier this year. "It basically is a completely different network than when I started because of the change of leadership," she told the Journal.
In April, the actress joined family-oriented cable network Great American Family as chief content officer, highlighting her desire to cultivate family-friendly content as an alternative to Hollywood's anti-American and oftentimes anti-Christian offerings.
"I am constantly looking for ways that I can inspire people to live life with purpose," Bure said at the time. "GAC fits my brand perfectly; we share a vision of creating compelling wholesome content for an audience who wants to watch programming for and with the whole family."
The actress told the Journal she is seeking a more faith-driven and thought-provoking style of storytelling.
"[My] heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth," she said. "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."
Bure told the outlet that she's eager to take on projects with more emotional depth than her previous Hallmark credits, adding that even her own children have poked fun at her for acting in stale, cliche films.
"Those are all fun things that we love, but we see over and over and over," she explained.
Earlier this week, Bure responded in an Instagram post to the backlash against her comments to the Wall Street Journal. "All of you know me, know beyond question that I have great love and affection for all people," she wrote. "It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would ever think I intentionally would want to offend and hurt anyone."
Bure, 46, took direct aim at the media, accusing them of being intentionally divisive during a time of year that should represent solace and peace for millions of Americans.
"It saddens me that the media is often seeking to divide us, even around a subject as comforting and merry as Christmas movies," she wrote. "But, given the toxic climate in our culture right now, I shouldn't be surprised. We need Christmas more than ever.
"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.
"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."
Bure concluded with an explanation of the tie between her faith and her joy in Christmas programming."The God we serve is a wildly creative and loving God," she said. "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."