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If Twitter has taught us anything this week, it’s that you shouldn’t mess with America’s most beloved home renovation sweethearts—especially if they’re from Texas.
On Monday, the Courier-Journal reported on a string of barn thefts happening across Kentucky. It’s apparently a problem that has been going on for years now. The newspaper reports that the thieves aren’t looting what’s inside the barn, they just want the external wood from the barn itself.
The reasoning? “Farmhouse modern” is a design trend that’s here to stay, thanks to Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines.
“Barnwood thieves have been stealing Kentucky memories across the commonwealth—from Todd to Russell counties… to feed a growing desire for the farmhouse chic popularized by famous HGTV hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines,” the newspaper detailed.
According to the Courier-Journal, barnwood theft has become such a problem that buyers are requesting tax forms from sellers to make sure things are legit.
The moment the Gaineses were pulled into the narrative, fans took to their keyboards to defend the famous couple.
turns out Chip and Joanna Gaines are single-handedly causing the opioid crisis, lack of jobs, and general state of economic devastation present in rural communities that causes people to steal barn wood! thank god we figured it out. https://t.co/zlnqPinClw— Kelsey Riddle (@KelseyLRiddle) April 16, 2019
1. That story was great, but more importantly— Cameron Love (@clove_designs) April 18, 2019
2. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS WHO HAVE LITERALLY NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG HOW COULD YOU pic.twitter.com/FFpQ2ZxHDf
No word on whether JD Vance has an alibi https://t.co/ABbFQkNN4Q— Rae Hodge (@RaeHodge) April 16, 2019
Chip and Joanna Gaines are ruining this great nation pic.twitter.com/aOvDosz9Wv— Max Morley (@MaxwellMorley) April 16, 2019
Within hours, stories about the husband-wife duo being blamed for Kentucky burglaries were popping up across the internet, with outlets like the Dallas Morning News noting “the Gaineses have never advocated stealing wood to install rustic embellishments in their designs.”
The Gaines Mafia is going to erect a pergola of pain on your property— Craig (@craiglonas) April 16, 2019
The Gaines couple’s journey to fame began in 2013, when the hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper, premiered. And, as it turns out, just as long as the duo has been having on-screen orgasms over shiplap and exposed beams barn owners have been simultaneously having their wood stolen. As early as 2015, multiple news outlets have reported barn thefts across the south.
Theft in progress. 33000 Hwy 18B. Sheridan. Truck backed up to a barn. Subjects may be stealing wood or other items.— YamCo Watch (@YamCoWatch) August 7, 2015
In Bowling Green, Kentucky, reports of barnwood thieves cashing in on the reclaimed wood trend hit an uptick four years ago. A year later, two people were charged in Montana for thousands of dollars in barnwood theft.
“The planks of wooden barns have become a hot commodity in the antique and craft markets,” a Mother Nature Network report stated a year later. “Design magazines and websites are replete with suggestions about how to put reclaimed wood to good use, from headboards to tables to backsplash.”
Architecture outlets like Curbed have called the modern farmhouse trend “the decorating trend du jour,” while Pure Wow called it a “dominating” trend and accredited its success directly to the Fixer Upper television show.
Judging by the wrath of internet fans, however, it’s OK to attribute the Gaineses when it comes to the trend’s success, but it’s never OK to mention their names in a story relating to crime.
Don’t mess with the blessed heroes of Waco.— Jessica Pishko (@JessPish) April 17, 2019
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Emily Bloch is a multimedia journalist based out of South Florida. She covers a mix of politics and entertainment for local, regional, and national publications including Teen Vogue and Business Insider.