A middling forty-something actor of little renown is trying to burnish his Hollywood credentials by taking his limited talents elsewhere in response to Candace Cameron Bure’s well-publicized position on same-sex representation on the Christian-based Great American Family network.
Neal Bledsoe, the “star” of a few Great American Family productions, issued a lengthy statement to Variety about the over-dramatized controversy surrounding his former network colleague’s recent position on same-sex marriage.
Bledsoe stated that he could no longer remain employed by the network given their position on what he deemed “deliberately” discriminatory. One wonders if he will take a job that features mostly biracial or secular relationships and have a problem with that overt discrimination against religious whites.
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. I hope GAF will change, but until everyone can be represented in their films with pride, my choice is clear.
He continued, saying he looks “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.”
Even people that had seen Bledsoe in GAF productions such as “The Winter Palace” and this year’s “Christmas at the Drive-In” likely didn’t know his name or would recognize him on the street, but that didn’t stop Variety from pouncing on the story and giving this non-entity pages of space to repeat the same tired lines. Bledsoe went on to comment why he was not appearing in recent promotional material for his presumably final material with his former network.
“You may have noticed that I have been unusually silent at a time when I should have been promoting a holiday film, a film with the express purpose of bringing everyone comfort in a time of great tumult and change, but I cannot continue with business as usual,” he clarified.
“I cannot take comfort from, nor will I give refuge to, those who excuse exclusion and promote division in any way, shape, or form,” he added. “Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and these are mine: The recent comments made by leadership at Great American Family are hurtful, wrong, and reflect an ideology that prioritizes judgment over love.”
Again, still not satisfied with these remarks, he then offered an explanation of what his supposed Christian upbringing meant to him.
“I was raised as a Christian, and believe in the essential message of love and forgiveness. That said, I could never forgive myself for continuing my relationship with a network that actively chooses to exclude the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Not addressed by Bledsoe was how he was comfortable receiving paychecks from the well-known Christian network before this controversy took off or if he will return those paychecks out of solidarity to the LGBT community. Also left unsaid by Bledsoe is how featuring heterosexual couples is discriminatory. Is it discriminatory in the other direction if same-sex couples are featured elsewhere? Bledsoe didn’t say.
This whole story blew up last month after Cameron Bure shared with The Wall Street Journal her views that GAF wouldn’t be featuring same-sex couples in its upcoming holiday-themed lineup.
“I think that the Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” the former Full House star said in the November interview.
CEO Bill Abbott reiterated that while the team was certainly aware of cultural changes in the landscape, they had no immediate reaction to update their entire storylines or plot points. He also said, as if it even needed to be, that nothing is overtly decided. “It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends,” Abbott said in the same interview. “There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.'”
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