Neal Bledsoe is stepping away from the Great American Family network.
In a lengthy statement to Variety, the actor revealed he would be leaving the network in light of Chief Creative Officer Candace Cameron Bure’s comments about portraying “traditional marriage” on GAF.
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“My life wouldn’t be where it is today without the love, support, and guidance of the LGBTQIA+ community. From my mentors in college, to the myriad of agents and managers, writers and directors, teachers and colleagues, and, of course, my dear friends and family, who have all touched my life, I owe them a great debt,” began Bledsoe. “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. 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.”
The “Christmas at the Drive-In” actor had already been taking steps to show his support by refusing to promote any of the recent work he had done with the 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 continued. “I cannot take comfort from, nor will I give refuge to, those who excuse exclusion and promote division in any way, shape, or form. 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.”
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Bledsoe went on to explain that while he is a practicing Christian, he disagreed with the words from Bure as well as the support from CEO, Bill Abbort, which seemed to aim at excluding the LGBTQIA+ community.
“This is why the phrase ‘traditional marriage’ is as odious as it is baffling. Not simply wrong in its morality, it’s also a moot point, when you consider that most romantic movies don’t feature married couples at all, nor even weddings, but simply people meeting and falling in love,” he said. “To describe that love and the full human representation of the LGBTQIA+ community as a “trend” is also both troubling and confusing.”
While he had hope for the organization to change, Bledsoe said he could not support it in its current state.
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“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,” he concluded. “In that spirit, I will be making a donation to True Colors United, and if these words have any resonance with you, I hope you will join me.”
Bure created waves in November after she stated she was moving from the Hallmark channel to the Great American Family network in part due to a desire to portray “traditional marriage” in her work.