Magnolia has pulled its series “Home Work” two days after the network’s cable premiere.
Some homeowners featured on the show allege that hosts Candis and Andy Meredith ruined their houses.
They said renovations went over budget by tens of thousands of dollars and weren’t finished in some cases.
Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network is removing a show from its lineup just two days after its cable launch on Discovery+.
“Home Work” was set to star Utah-based couple Andy and Candis Meredith, following the couple’s renovation of a school into their family home, as well as their work on other people’s homes in their area, as People reported. The show, originally Joanna Gaines’ idea, was poised to be the next “Fixer Upper,” according to Decider.
But “Home Work” was pulled from the network after some homeowners featured on the series alleged that the Merediths had damaged their homes and that renovations went over budget by tens of thousands of dollars in certain cases.
The Merediths have denied the accusations on Instagram and in a statement provided to Insider. Allison Page, the president of Magnolia Network, confirmed to Insider that the network was pulling the show and said it was reviewing the claims made against the couple.
Aubry Bennion says working with the Merediths led to a slew of issues
Bennion, a Utah homeowner who said she had her kitchen renovated for the series in 2019, shared an 18-post Instagram tale about her experience on Wednesday.
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Bennion wrote in an Instagram post that the Merediths initially told her they could renovate her kitchen in three weeks for $20,000. They ultimately decided on a budget of $25,000 during the first taping of the show, Bennion told Insider.
But the process ended up taking five months, Bennion said, adding that it cost her over $39,000 — with much of that money spent on fixing issues created during the renovation, according to the homeowner.
Bennion wrote in another Instagram post that the Merediths added a deck onto the back of her kitchen, but they built it over a sprinkler system and created a drainage issue. In the same post, Bennion wrote that her home also almost flooded because of the deck, lowering the value of her home. Bennion told Insider she had to pay $18,000 to repair it.
Bennion also said that the Merediths never showed her a budget during the renovation process, despite her multiple requests for one.
Bennion said she spoke to the Merediths about the issues she had with the renovation throughout the process, and that Candis typically responded with excuses or promises of things arriving the following day. But these promises rarely came true, according to Bennion.
The homeowner said she reached out to producers at the Magnolia Network for help during the renovation. They gave Candis a “stern talking to” after her call, according to one of Bennion’s Instagram posts, but no real change occurred.
Bennion said she had developed trust in Chip and Joanna’s brand after building a professional relationship with Magnolia Market by attending its vendor events through her small business, so the experience with the network disappointed her.
“I want Magnolia to be accountable,” she said. “It’s mind-blowing to me that they would put Magnolia’s name and reputation on the line or that they would allow these people to represent them without any sort of oversight or mentoring.”
Others featured on the show describe similar experiences
After Bennion shared her story, another “Home Work” homeowner, Teisha Satterfield Hawley, detailed her experience with the Merediths.
Hawley wrote on Instagram that she and her husband Jeff gave the Merediths $45,000 to renovate their living space in four weeks. Ten weeks later, with little work done on their home, the Merediths told the Hawleys they would need an additional $40,000 to make the project work, according to a follow-up post shared on Hawley’s Instagram account.
“Hopeless is the word that comes to mind when I think of that day,” Hawley wrote in the caption of the same post about the experience.
“We had been living in our basement for months at this point including Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays,” they wrote later in the caption. “We were exhausted, we had just been told all of our funds were used and our home was torn apart with bubbling floors laid.”
In another Instagram post, the Hawleys wrote that they told the Merediths not to come back after they asked for the additional money, choosing to figure out how to fix their home without their help.
“People with ‘celebrity’ status can’t have power over others just because they feel like they can,” Hawley told Insider, adding that “the Magnolia name (as well as Chip and Jo’s)” gave them “a sense of safety and security” in working with the Merediths.
“There are many families and even businesses that have been harmed by these people,” she added, speaking of the Merediths. “It all needs to be put to an end.”
Vienna and Rob Goates also shared their “Home Work” experience on Friday via Instagram.
The Goateses, who have five children, wrote in an Instagram post that they gave the Merediths $50,000 for the $100,000 renovation they were going to do on their home in February 2020. According to the same post, the Goateses wired the money after Candis asked them for the amount to secure deposits for subcontractors working on their home.
According to another Instagram post from the Goateses, months passed and work did not begin on their home, and when Rob was laid off in May 2020, Candis told the couple that she could help pay for the renovations. The couple said they tried to give Candis the benefit of the doubt, particularly because she came endorsed by the Gaineses.
“We had faith in the reputation of Chip and Joanna and their beloved Magnolia brand and Candis’s repeated assurances that everything would work out,” Vienna wrote on Instagram.
The Goateses told Insider that by September 2020 the Merediths still had not started working on their home, and they decided to ask for their money back. They said Candis agreed to pay them back, but she kept delaying payments — even after the couple hired a lawyer.
To date, according to the Goateses’ Instagram, the Merediths have paid them $14,000 of the $50,000 they owe.
The Goateses told Insider they were hesitant about going public with their allegations, but it felt like the only option they had left. “We’ve been doing everything in our power to resolve this privately for the last two years,” Vienna said. “We got a lawyer. We went through all the proper channels. We tried our best, and it just never happened.”
The couple said they also reached out to a Discovery+ lawyer, but that the attorney “brushed off” their concerns.
“They said that ‘we believe that they intend to repay you and you’ve already got a lawyer involved, so we don’t feel that this is something we need to get involved with,'” Vienna said of her email exchange with the lawyer.
“The knowledge that we’re in the right here, that we were kind and that we always took the high road, is some comfort,” the Goateses wrote in an Instagram post about the experience. “That kindness and our extreme patience were taken advantage of, and that is such a huge violation that we feel so deeply, but our consciences are clear, and that’s no small thing.”
Magnolia Network says it’s investigating the claims made against the Merediths, though the couple denies the allegations
In a statement provided to Insider, Allison Page, the president of Magnolia Network, confirmed that the Merediths’ show would be pulled from the network.
“Magnolia Network is aware that certain homeowners have expressed concerns about renovation projects undertaken by Candis and Andy Meredith,” the statement said. “Within the last day, we have learned additional information about the scope of these issues, and we have decided to remove ‘Home Work’ from the Magnolia Network line up pending a review of the claims that have been made.”
In a statement to Insider that was also shared on Instagram, the Merediths denied the claims by the Hawleys, the Goateses, and Bennion.
“Although we cannot speak for anyone but ourselves, we can say that we have always tried to give everything we have to make anyone we work with happy,” the couple wrote, adding that they “adamantly deny” they stole money from clients.
“It is true that we are sometimes left with outstanding balances, but we always pay, even if it takes some time for us to make arrangements,” the statement read.
The Merediths also provided Insider with a link to a satisfied client’s Instagram page. The user, who goes by @hotcocoareads, shared photos of a reading cottage designed by the duo and wrote that “Andy and Candis did beautiful work” and that though the project “took longer than I hoped, I ultimately feel that Candis truly wanted me to love the space.”
In their statement, the Merediths also questioned the timing of the public allegations, saying the claims coming out the week their show was supposed to premiere was intended to “hurt us the most.”
“The fact that this story is coming out now is extremely calculated,” they added. “One day we may have the courage to put everything out publicly, to defend ourselves against the ‘Instagram mafia’ that was called up. But in this moment, we know that anything we say will only be turned against us and hurt so many more.”
Read the original article on Insider