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'I'll shut this circus down so fast': Chip Gaines responds to Utah-based writer's critical piece about 'Fixer Upper' couple

In this March 29, 2016 photo, Joanna Gaines, left, and Chip Gaines pose for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
In this March 29, 2016 photo, Joanna Gaines, left, and Chip Gaines pose for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
Brian Ach, Invision/Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- “Fixer Upper” star Chip Gaines responded to a recent USA Today opinion piece that criticized Chip and Joanna Gaines for spending much of their time on their business rather than with their family.

“I don't know Daryl, (and) he clearly doesn’t know me,” he tweeted about the article’s author, Orem native Daryl Austin. “But for the record: If there is ever a need (with) my family (first), I'll shut this circus down so fast it will make your head spin. But Jo (and) I believe, (with) God anything is possible. Including having an amazing family and career you love.”

https://twitter.com/chipgaines/status/990179480864993281

Last week, Utah-based writer Austin wrote an opinion article for USA Today in which he criticized the “Fixer Upper” couple for not putting their family first, even though they "are often portrayed as the gold standard of 'family first' couples," he wrote.

Instead, Austin wrote, the family focuses much of their time on their business and brand, rather than their family.

“No matter how rich and famous, we are all limited by the same 24 hours in a day,” he wrote. “You cannot do all they’ve done (or even a fraction of it) and still have any real time left over for family. Frankly, I wonder where they even find the time to brush their teeth, let alone spend quality, one-on-one time with each child daily."

Multiple media outlets — including the Deseret News, Houston Chronicle, Fox News and Country Living — wrote about the article.

Austin said in a full statement to the Deseret News on Monday that he received a heavy amount of feedback about his original piece, including the response from Gaines.

“I appreciated what he said,” Austin said in a statement. “I want to address what he said, and what others have said. I'm hesitant to do so, however, because I worry people will see it as me defending what I originally wrote. I stand behind everything I said but think some elaboration may be helpful to some readers.”

Austin said he’s been criticized by readers for not knowing what really happens in the Gaines’ life.

But, he said, the family puts so much of their lives in the public spotlight that he can understand their life pretty easily.

He said in a statement that he understands the family is busy (like all families), but he doesn't understand why the Gaineses "keep saying that they want more time with their children, yet they keep choosing to take on more and more outside responsibilities notwithstanding."

“There’s a disconnect between what they say and what they do and I thought it was a valid point of view worth exploring,” he said in a statement to the Deseret News. “When you're in the public eye as much as they are, I believe they need to take responsibility for the ‘you can have it all’ lifestyle they convey to their millions of fans and would-be imitators. But that's just my opinion.”