Religion News Service — HGTV had announced a new series, “Flip it Forward,” planned for October, starring twins David and Jason Benham.
The concept: After a decade of flipping houses for profit, the Benham guys would now help families buy the home they thought they could never afford — a small-scale, personal “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
In each episode, the brothers would find a fixer-upper and “transform it into their forever home — with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry between the brothers along the way,” said HGTV in the April announcement.
But on Wednesday, May 7, quietly, in a tweet, HGTV said the show will not be happening: “HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series.”
“If our faith costs us a television show,” the brothers said in a statement on Thursday, “then so be it.”
According to Towleroad.com, HGTV was alerted to a Tuesday story by RightWingWatch.org, which looked into the background of the Benham brothers and found them to be “anti-gay, anti-Choice extremists.” A social media campaign quickly took flight to pressure HGTV to cancel the show.
David Benham protested outside of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, which he told conservative radio host Janet Mefferd was needed to stop “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” reports the organization. There is also video on YouTube of David protesting outside of an abortion clinic in 2013.
GlobalFlare.com decried what it called a “smear campaign,” noting, “So what’s wrong with having strong Christian beliefs and standing against the abortion movement in America?”
The article also notes that the twins’ father is Flip Benham, an outspoken anti-abortion activist who is now the director of Operation Rescue. He is perhaps most famous for baptizing Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” behind the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
On their website, David is described as a father of five, a graduate of Liberty University and “a follower of Christ.” Jason is also a Liberty grad, as well as being a father of four, who is often quoted as saying, “For us to take credit for building a successful business would be like a shovel taking credit for digging a hole. We’re simply the tools God chose to use to build a successful business.”
The Benham brothers issued a statement on their Facebook page early Thursday saying they are “saddened” by HGTV’s decision.
“The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is; have we shined Christ’s light today? Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpiece of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying.
“Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.”
The brother also said:
“We were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision. With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principles, and dedicated professionals. If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company