Not everyone who watches Fixer Upper is mesmerized by the shiplap.
The hit show may be over, but the reruns live on and people are still watching them. It seems like even retiring from television isn’t enough to dissuade adoring fans from focusing their attention on HGTV’s reigning power couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines.
But not all the attention they’re getting is necessarily positive. Case in point: They just had to pay a hefty fine based on the very footage that made them famous. Read on to find out what they did, who saw it, and why they’re in big trouble.
Magnolia Homes broke the rules
It’s easy to laugh at Chip Gaines’ silly antics, but beyond the fun times on #demoday there was something much more serious going on. The EPA reviewed footage from multiple seasons and what they found led to the home renovation company being smacked with a huge fine.
Next: This is how the Gaineses broke the rules.
They failed to remove lead paint correctly
In total, the EPA found evidence of 33 instances where the Fixer Upper crew did not properly remove lead paint. In a statement on the EPA website, they said that the show, “did not depict the lead-safe work practices normally required.”
Next: Here are all the rules they broke.
Nothing about their renovations were compliant
Chip and Joanna broke specific rules during the Fixer Upper renovations, including not obtaining EPA certification, failure to assign a certified renovator to properties, not providing a pamphlet to homeowners, neglecting to post warning signs, and disregard for general work practice standards.
Next: Almost all the homes they renovate have this in common.
The rule applies to most homes featured on the show
The rules are important for home renovations performed on residences built before 1978 (which is true for almost every house featured on the show). These guidelines — which Chip and Joanna Gaines should be aware of — stipulate that floors and vents should be covered with plastic to reduce exposure to lead.
Next: Here’s how Chip and Joanna reacted to the fine.
The Gaineses responded quickly
Chip and Joanna immediately agreed to pay the $40,000 civil fine to the EPA. And they didn’t stop there. Concerned with their fans’ safety, the couple voluntarily agreed to make further amends and absolve any wrongdoing.
Next: This is the one extra step they’re taking for safety.
They’re teaching the community about proper lead paint removal
The Gaineses are spending $160,000 on an additional lead-paint abatement program for houses and child-occupied buildings in Waco, Texas. They hope that by educating the public in their hometown, they’ll help homeowners avoid lead exposure.
In a statement, a rep for Magnolia said: “We continue to be proactive with our efforts to ensure total compliance moving forward, and remain committed to raising awareness in our community and our industry.”
Next: Lead exposure can literally kill you.
Lead poisoning is serious
Lead-based paints found in older homes could lead to lead poisoning. Even small amounts of lead in the body can cause serious issues such as high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, impaired memory, headaches, abdominal pain, and mood disorders in adults.
Issues for children include developmental delays and learning disabilities among other complications. High levels of lead in the body could even lead to death for both adults and kids.
Next: The Gaineses are no strangers to lawsuits.
It’s not the first time Chip and Joanna have dealt with controversy
The EPA fine isn’t the first time the Gaineses have been in trouble with the law. In 2017, Chip Gaines was sued by two former real estate partners who believed they were owed a piece of the Magnolia fortune. The amount? Just a cool $1 million.
Next: They’re really good at dealing with negative press.
The Gaineses had the perfect response
Rather than deflecting or trying to cover up their mistakes, Chip and Joanna Gaines immediately agreed to pay the fine and go beyond what was required to help fix their mistake. It seems like someone on their PR team was coaching them — or maybe they just really are that perfect.
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