Writer Apologizes to Chip and Joanna Gaines After Questioning Their 'Family First' Motto
Daryl Austin made headlines after posting an article on USA Today that critiqued the Fixer Upper stars’ consistent statements that they put their family first.
“There is much to be admired about them, including their commitments to their faith, marriage, family and community,” Austin said of the famous couple. “There’s an important distinction, however, that I think their millions of fans and would-be imitators need to remember: Chip and Joanna Gaines did not get where they are now by putting their family first.”
He continued to chronicle the HGTV host’s many business ventures, challenging the couple’s ability to handle their home improvement empire while still spending time with their four kids, Drake, 13, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie Kay, 8 (Joanna is pregnant with baby number five).
“This is just not possible,” Austin wrote. “And it does a disservice to the parents who really are putting their children first.”
After it was released, Chip responded to Austin with a tweet saying, “I don’t know Daryl, & he clearly doesn’t 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 contractor also added, “BUT Jo & I believe, w/ God anything is possible. Including having an amazing family AND a career you love.”
Following Chip’s statement, the Fixer Upper fan base “came crashing down” on Austin, according to a second article he wrote for Fox News, apologizing to the Waco-based couple.
“I didn’t write it to be hurtful, out of jealousy, or to cause controversy,” he began. “I wrote it for one simple reason: because I believed every word I wrote to be true.”
Austin cited his “personal experience of running my own company” as the basis for his argument, saying that, “even just one business venture takes an awful lot of time and effort each day.” Despite the “avalanche” from the Gaines’ supporters, he didn’t waver from his opinion until taking a trip to Mexico with his own family.
“All around me I witnessed poverty I’ve never known,” he said. “Suddenly the parenting choices of two well-meaning American parents paled in comparison. Especially because as bad as it seemed to be for some of the children I witnessed in Mexico, I knew in that moment that many children all over the world were suffering even more.”
He continued, “I realized how lucky any of those kids without parents would feel to have a mother and father like Chip and Joanna Gaines. I don’t know them personally, but I suspect they really are terrific parents.”
And while he admitted “I regret writing it,” he completed his essay with this final thought.
“I’ve never backed down from anything I’ve written before now, but maybe progressing in my beliefs and doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about,” Austin said.