“Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage,” the story’s headline reads.
The story’s subheadline went a step further, seemingly suggesting potential guilt by association:
“Their pastor considers homosexuality to be a “sin” caused by abuse — whether the Fixer Upper couple agrees is unclear.”
Based on their pastor’s views on gay marriage, BuzzFeed reporter Kate Aurthur questioned whether the Gaineses would even allow gay couples to appear on their HGTV show:
So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s House Hunters and Property Brothers? Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned. Nor were emails and calls to HGTV’s PR department.
Chip and Joanna Gaines have been outspoken about their Christian faith, but have not publicly expressed their opinions about gay marriage. Many religious leaders, such as the Waco, TX, couple’s pastor, are against gay marriage based on religious objections.
Evidence soon emerged that the reporter behind the story isn’t a big fan of “Fixer Upper” or religion in general.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 1, 2016
Aurthur has tweeted her own opinions on faith in the past as well:
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) October 21, 2014
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) February 16, 2011
BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith defended the story for hours on Twitter Wednesday, suggesting HGTV should just answer Aurthur’s question about whether the Gaineses would allow gay couples to appear on “Fixer Upper.”
This is a story about a big company, HGTV, refusing to say whether they ban LGBT people from a TV show. They should just answer the question https://t.co/rxsbfV11mb
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) November 30, 2016
@HotlineJosh Not to argue w your reporting – I agree – but reporting on very public figures is not "shaming"
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) December 1, 2016
Some of the responses to the story were brutal, lambasting BuzzFeed for starting a “witch hunt” and seeking to make the Gaineses answer for the views of their pastor.
A gay dude
— Steven Porter (@reporterporter) December 1, 2016
Waiting for Aurthur 's next in-depth piece on what Chip and Joanna Gaines' grocer thinks. (Skip Biden and Pelosi's church, natch.)
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 1, 2016
And why was this a story in the first place? Buzzfeed, gtfo…
— Brad Milner (@TheBradMilner) December 1, 2016
Don’t forget to pray for the Christian family that BuzzFeed is harassing for their religious affiliation.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) December 1, 2016
Buzzfeed Entertainment on a political witch hunt against HGTV's Fixer Upper couple. Because they're popular, successful, Texan & Christian. https://t.co/zBYRUD9oaJ
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) November 30, 2016
The whole Buzzfeed/Gaines situation sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
— Ashe Schow (@AsheSchow) December 1, 2016
BuzzFeed’s official editorial policy states that there are “not two sides” when it comes to LGBT issues. In other words, the website does not pretend to be objective on the issue.