Brett Cooper
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Brett Cooper: I Saw First-Hand What’s Behind Hollywood’s Shameful Shunning Of Candace Cameron Bure

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“They want to know if Brett is really a lesbian.”

Those are actual words that came out of my talent manager’s mouth when I was a 16-year-old actress.

By that point, I had been acting professionally for about seven years, so of course, I’d experienced my fair share of uncontrollable rejections: She’s too tall. She’s too brunette. She needs to be skinnier. She needs to be heavier. You name it, I’d heard it, but this was new.

I was about three auditions deep for a new Netflix film that was already slated to star a host of major A-Listers – people I had dreamed of acting alongside, and the character for whom I was auditioning was a lesbian high schooler. Her sexuality didn’t faze me. I’m an actor, I can play anything. That’s literally what I’m hired to do. 

Shortly after my last meeting with the casting directors and creative team, my talent manager got a call from the producer’s office.

They said I had convinced them I was lesbian, but they wanted to be sure because they wanted a real teen lesbian to play the role. Obviously I convinced them… again, I’m an actor.

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My manager called my mom, who was appalled they were asking such a question of a minor, and they informed the producers that sadly, I was straight.

In hindsight, I wish my team and I had pushed back. I wish they had said, “Why does that matter? She’s 16, she’s never dated anyone – male or female. She can play the role.” But we didn’t. 

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t move forward in the audition process for that film.

All of this to say, hiring actors based on their identity is nothing new for Hollywood. Just like telling stories with political and cultural agendas is nothing new.

In 2020, the Academy of Motion Pictures even rolled out new guidelines for films to be considered for the Oscars. These guidelines include how many marginalized actors you hire, whether you’re telling the story of an oppressed community, the diversity of your crew, and even the style of your marketing and film release. This is the new industry standard.

However, it is only the standard for one ideology, and this is abundantly clear in how the media has handled Candace Cameron Bure.

The former “Full House” star and Hallmark movie darling made waves this holiday season when she announced she was stepping away from Hallmark to focus on a new creative endeavor: her production company, “The Great American Family.” This new group will be rooted in Christian and American values, and they’re putting faith, family, and country at the cornerstone of their productions. This is an unsurprising move for Bure, who is outspoken about her faith and her conservative beliefs.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bure and “The Great American Family CEO Bill Abbott, were asked if their productions would feature LGBTQ couples, as Hallmark has begun to do. Bure replied, “I think that “The Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.” Abbott added, “It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends. There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.’”

And this shook the internet. Bure’s name was plastered on every trending page and the cover of every significant publication for being “anti-gay” and excluding actors and storylines from her new company. 

Why are Hollywood and its audiences so concerned with Bure creating a production company that will support her own values and interests? Isn’t this what they do every day? Isn’t that what I experienced as a 16-year-old actress?

For example, in the same week Bure faced this media firestorm, Gabrielle Union announced she would be producing a gay wedding rom-com. Social media cheered. Earlier this year, Billy Eichner won the “stunning and brave” award for producing a film whose cast was made up entirely of LGBTQ actors. Where was the outcry about him excluding other actors?

These artists are praised for being progressive and innovative. Bure is villainized.

She shouldn’t be. She should be applauded. If one group is allowed to have an agenda, hire based on identity, and tell stories they relate to, the other side is as well. And not only do they have that right, but they should use it. 

That is the beauty of living in a free country where we have freedom of speech and expression, though that is something Hollywood often forgets.

Bure’s new production company isn’t taking anything from Hollywood or suppressing anyone’s voice, she’s simply making content that is aligned with her values. Just like they do. Every single day.

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