BuzzFeed comes under fire for bizarre story on HGTV couple's same-sex marriage beliefs

BuzzFeed was fiercely criticized online on Wednesday and into Thursday after the website published a controversial story about the stars of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper."

The story centered on the views Chip and Joanna Gaines have toward same-sex couples. Reporter Kate Arthur, who was unable to obtain comment from the couple, only wrote that their church stands "firmly against same-sex marriage."

"Their pastor considers homosexuality to be a 'sin' caused by abuse — whether the Fixer Upper couple agrees is unclear," Arthur wrote.

The guilt-by-association nature of the story prompted an intense backlash.

See photos of Chip and Joanna Gaines:

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Chip and Joanna Gaines together
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Cocktails at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attend the Time 100 Gala 2019 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Cocktails at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Lobby Arrivals at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Lobby Arrivals at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Lobby Arrivals at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TIME)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0958 -- Pictured: (l-r) Authors Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on November 9, 2018 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chip and Joanna Gaines on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 05: 'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines pose with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 pace car at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Chip and Joanna Gaines discuss 'Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff' and the ending of the show 'Fixer Upper' with the Build Series at Build Studio on October 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Chip and Joanna Gaines discuss 'Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff' and the ending of the show 'Fixer Upper' with the Build Series at Build Studio on October 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines discuss new book, 'Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff' at Build Studio on October 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Designers Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attend AOL Build Presents: 'Fixer Upper' at AOL Studios In New York on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Designers Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend AOL Build Presents: 'Fixer Upper' at AOL Studios In New York on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
THE CHEW - Chip and Joanna Gaines as well as Victoria Justice are the guests on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) CARLA HALL, CHIP GAINES, MICHAEL SYMON, JOANNA GAINES, DAPHNE OZ, CLINTON KELLY
THE CHEW - Chip and Joanna Gaines as well as Victoria Justice are the guests on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) JOANNA GAINES, MICHAEL SYMON, CHIP GAINES
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines appear to promote 'The Magnolia Story' during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines appear to promote 'The Magnolia Story' during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
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"Maybe don't do this, BuzzFeed," wrote conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat.

National Review contributor Jim Geraghty wrote that BuzzFeed had allowed a "social-media-mob-stirring, guilt-by-association, drive-out-the-heretics philosophy" to govern its editorial decision making.

Others went even further.

Erick Erickson, editor of conservative website The Resurgent, wrote that "the article is blatant bigotry against Bible believing Christians."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joined in on the savaging against the "bigots from BuzzFeed" in a Thursday morning email to supporters:

"As several critics have noted, both on TV and in real life, Chip and Joanna Gaines appear to be model parents, loving spouses, funny, intelligent, likable, generous, highly skilled and extremely successful. And maybe that's the real problem that BuzzFeed's writers have. Their popularity shatters the false image that liberal media outlets like BuzzFeed peddle of red state residents being a bunch of dumb, hateful, bigoted 'deplorables.'"

The story also had critics raising other questions about BuzzFeed.

"BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief Ben Smith famously declared that the company's official editorial policy on same-sex marriage was that 'there are not two sides to the issue.' Does BuzzFeed apply that same standard when it comes to hiring and employment?" asked Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, in an email to Business Insider.

A representative for BuzzFeed did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday morning, but Smith defended the story on Twitter.

"This is a story about a big company, HGTV, refusing to say whether they ban LGBT people from a TV show," Smith wrote. "They should just answer the question."

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