Actor Neal Bledsoe is taking a stand against Great American Family’s less than inclusive approach to holiday filmmaking.
Bledsoe, whose credits include “The Mysteries of Laura” and “Shameless,” announced Monday that he’ll no longer appear in films for Great American Family after Candace Cameron Bure, the network’s chief content officer, said viewers shouldn’t expect to see LGBTQ storylines in its Christmas movies.
“I cannot take comfort from, nor will I give refuge to, those who excuse exclusion and promote division in any way, shape, or form,” Bledsoe said in a statement published by Variety. “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.”
Bledsoe can currently be seen in Great American Family’s “Christmas at the Drive-In” opposite Danica McKellar, but said he won’t promote the movie in light of the network’s stance on queer representation. Though he didn’t mention Bure by name in his remarks, he pointed to “someone in an executive position speaking about deliberate exclusion on behalf of an entire network” as the impetus for his decision to step away.
“I was raised as a Christian, and believe in the essential message of love and forgiveness,” Bledsoe said.
He said he hopes in the future to work “with creators who put no limits on the stories we tell and follow through on their message of values with open arms,” adding: “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.”
You can read Bledsoe’s full statement to Variety here.
HuffPost reached out to Great American Family’s representatives for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Bure was hit with backlash last month following an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which she explained her decision to join forces with Great American Family, a conservative Christian network, after more than 14 years with the Hallmark Channel.
In recent years, the Hallmark Channel has taken steps to diversify its lineup with films like 2020’s “The Christmas House,” which depicted a gay married couple who hoped to become fathers.
When asked if viewers could expect her new network’s holiday programming to include stories about LGBTQ people, Bure replied: “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”
The “Full House” star’s remark was condemned by fellow actors like Hilarie Burton and JoJo Siwa, as well as GLAAD and other LGBTQ advocacy groups. Days later, Bure responded to the criticism by accusing the media of “using this opportunity to fan flames of conflict and hate.”
“It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would ever think I intentionally would want to offend and hurt anyone,” she wrote on Instagram. “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.”
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