On April 29, 2018, USA Today published an opinion piece written by Daryl Austin. The article quickly went viral because of the unpopular opinion about Chip and Joanna Gaines that was shared.
“There is much to be admired about them, including their commitments to their faith, marriage, family and community,” he started, but his praise took a dark turn to criticism.
“Chip and Joanna Gaines did not get where they are now by putting their family first.”
The article quickly picked up attention from fans and various media outlets. Once the article reached the Gaines family, however, Chip cleared things up.
“I dont know daryl, & he clearly doesnt know me. But for the record: If there is ever a need w/ my family (1st), I’ll shut this circus down so fast it will make your head spin,” the “Fixer Upper” star wrote on Twitter.
Friends of the family, like Bob Goff, showed up on social media and defended the family’s priorities.
A month later, after receiving thousands of comments, Austin published another article apologizing to Chip and Joanna.
“I recently wrote an opinion article for USA Today that was critical of the parenting choices of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. I regret writing it,” his article started.
He admitted that he truly believed what he said in his article, “You cannot do all they’ve done (or even a fraction of it) and still have any real time left over for family.”
And at first, he was standing behind the opinion he originally shared despite the thousands of mean comments he was receiving from the couples’ fans.
That is until a trip to Mexico put everything into perspective.
The family trip happened shortly after the article was published and while there, Austin saw a very real picture of what poverty looks like. He saw children digging through piles of trash on the side of the streets and his heart broke for them.
He said, “Suddenly the parenting choices of two well-meaning American parents paled in comparison.”
“I smiled as I realized how lucky any of those kids without parents would feel to have a mother and father like Chip and Joanna Gaines,” he continued. “I don’t know them personally, but I suspect they really are terrific parents. I’ve never said or thought otherwise. And just because Chip Gaines chooses to spend his time differently than I do doesn’t make him any less of a father.”
He then went on to say that his original argument was flawed and that his intention of starting an important conversation about the priorities of entrepreneurial parents was not fully flushed out.
He closed his newer article by saying that he’s never backed down from any of his previous articles, but that his beliefs have grown since publishing the article on April 29.
“Maybe,” he said. “Doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about.”
He has not only published this article, but has reached out to the family personally following their newest son’s birth to extend his apology.
A representative of the family responded and extended the family’s forgiveness. After a crazy few months, Austin said he finally has closure.
The opinion writer said, “I already respected them a lot, despite some concerns I addressed in that article, but now I respect them even more.”
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