There are certain reality TV series that you expect to get some post-filming drama, whether it’s beefs between the stars or legitimate criminal activity. The Bachelor (did they or did tey not tie the knot?), Real Housewives, even Toddlers In Tiaras. But for some reason we don’t expect it of the seemingly-wholesome home improvement stars. What controversy could a happy couple, a business partner, or a clever carpenter really stir up?
It turns out, quite a lot. HGTV has had a remarkable amount of scandals among their reality stars, so much so that many of their names have been wider-publicized for scandal than for their TV shows. Whether it’s domestic disputes or business deals gone bad, these stars just can’t seem to escape the negative spotlight. From Carter Oosterhouse to Tarek and Christina and even Chip and Joanna Gaines, these are the biggest scandals to rock HGTV stars.
A version of this article was originally published in December 2016.
Accused of Sexual Coercion
In December 2017, Kailey Kaminski, a makeup artist for HGTV's Carter Can accused Carter Oosterhouse of coersion, forcing her to perform oral sex in fear for her job.
"He pulled off the road and said, 'Do you enjoy your job?'" she told The Hollywood Reporter. Carter acknowledged having an "intimate" relationship with Kaminski, and stated that he did not have a sexual relationship with anyone else on the crew or staff.
Sued For Fraud
This won't be the last time Fixer Upper hosts and real-life couple Chip and Joanna Gaines will appear on this list.
In May 2017, the Gaines' were hit by a lawsuit from their former business partners, John Lewis and Richard Clark, who claim they were misled by the Gaineses and manipulated into selling their part of the business just before Fixer Upper took off.
Chip said that the lawsuit is totally without merit, however, and claims he had never been contacted about the dispute, tweeting, "I’ve had the same cell number for 15 years. Same e-mail for 20 years. No one called or emailed? Four years later ‘friends’ reach out via lawsuit — hum."
‘Fixer Upper’ Fakery
One of the biggest scandals to hit the show was the revelation that Fixer Upper guests were told to buy a house before filming ever began. The beans were spilled during a Fox News interview with Season 3 guest David Ridley, who spoke up about the filming process. Oh, boy. The three houses those guests are typically shown on the show allegedly include the one pre-purchased house, but it is filmed in such a way as to appear the guests have never seen the three houses.
Chip & Joanna Gaines’ Pastor Drama
In 2016 Buzzfeed ran a story that the Gaines' pastor was preaching anti-gay values. The story carried the implication that, by extension, the Gaines also adhered to those beliefs, but no statement was ever issued from the couple nor was there any proof of the implication. For their part, HGTV issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to equality and promoting positive LGBTQ depictions on their shows.
‘Fixer Upper’ Vs. Airbnb
The Fixer Upper drama just doesn't quit! Chip and Joanna Gaines may have gotten a bee in their bonnet when they learned that former Fixer Upper guests were renting their homes on Airbnb because (duh) who wouldn't want to stay in a sweet Fixer Upper pad for a week? Needless to say, while a statement was issued saying the Gainses had no problem with the houses they had worked on being rented out, the show has reportedly added extra clauses in upcoming guest contracts to prevent this exploitation from occurring again.
The Big ‘Fixer Upper’ Silos Uh-Oh
Alright, this is the last of the Fixer Upper scandals. Promise.
The Gainses found themselves in legal hot water when they were sued for close to $1 million because of zoning issues related to their Magnolia Market at the Silos property. As Cosmopolitan reported: "The alley next to the market doesn’t belong to Gaineses, and they had a lease agreement with the previous owners to use it for customer parking. However, when the old owners sold the alley, the new owners decided not to renew the lease… Chip put up a gate to separate the free/not-free parking lots, but the alley's owners are now seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages from said gate on their property and want it removed."
Is your head spinning, yet?
Tarek El Moussa’s Alleged Breakdown
It's been a tough year for another beloved HGTV couple: Flip or Flop stars Tarek and Christina El Moussa.
According to People magazine, in May 2016 officials responded to a call to the El Moussa's home. An officer claimed he saw Tarek jump over his backyard fence and run toward a hiking trail. Christina was "crying and shaking" and told an officer he had taken a handgun with him. Tarek was coaxed back to the house and relieved of his gun. The cause of the incident has been unconfirmed, but rumors of Tarek suffering a breakdown have followed since the event was first reported.
Tarek & Christina El Moussa Face Cheating Rumors
In early December 2016, Tarek and Christina El Moussa announced their separation. After a tumultuous year, the HGTV stars decided to go their separate ways. In a statement to People, the incident between the couple involving a gun seemed to have been the cause of the split. In the following weeks, it has been rumored Christina has coupled up with Flip or Flop contractor Gary Anderson and Tarek has faced allegations of an extramarital affair with his children's nanny.
‘Flip It Forward’ Dad’s Controversial views
Their show never made it to air because Flip It Forward's stars David and Jason Benham faced a massive scandal before the show's release. Back in 2014, reports surfaced the Benham brothers' father Flip was an extreme anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ evangelical pastor. Additionally, anti-gay comments made by David Benham at a prayer rally outside the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and on a radio talk show led HGTV to swiftly boot the brothers and the show.
‘Property Brothers’ Brawl
The Property Brothers may be portrayed as sweet and good-natured on their show, but their shine was dulled a little when reports surfaced that Jonathan Scott got into a bar fight in mid-2016.
The brothers were in Fargo, North Dakota, to speak at a design conference when the incident occurred. Scott was apparently one of many who were annoyed when the staff of Dempsey's Public House took away their drinks and escorted them out. Scott became involved in a scuffle, ending up in a chokehold before being escorted off the premises. Yikes, indeed.
Plagiarism on ‘Ellen’s Design Challenge’
Tisk, tisk. When news of design theft surfaced in regard to Season 1 winner Tim McClellan's winning designs, jaws were dropping across the nation. McClellan found himself in the hot seat when he was found to have plagiarized another Design Challenge contestant's work.
When McClellan appeared on The Ellen Show to address the controversy, DeGeneres somewhat absolved him by stating that, essentially, all furniture designs look similar at some point.
The Broken Facade of ‘House Hunters’
I'm sure we can all agree a little smoke and mirrors is involved in the world of television, but House Hunters reportedly took it to another level.
On her blog, Hooked on Houses, former House Hunters guest Bobi Jensen revealed that when she was on the show, Jensen had initially wanted to simply renovate her old home and told the producers as much. Apparently, that wasn't cool. The producers forced her to buy a new house, and the homes she toured on the show were friends' houses. Say what? Jensen's statements implied that her experience was not singular, which is sad news for those House Hunters fans who believe the show is authentic in how it unfolds.
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