Perhaps hoping to avoid a Duck Dynasty controversy remix, HGTV has decided to dump its plans for a new show hosted by twin brothers David and Jason Benham after a news story revealed anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-choice statements.
The series was to be called Flip It Forward. The Benhams were going to help families buy a fixer-upper home and give it a redesign with a little bit of sibling rivalry tossed in for good measure. The show was announced last month.
However, the network got wind of a story that appeared on Right Wing Watch revealing that “at least one of the Benhams” is “a dedicated right-wing activist in the mold of his father, Flip Benham, who has headed the abortion-clinic protest group Operation Save America ever since it split from the militant anti-choice group Operation Rescue.”
David Benham led a prayer rally at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and has spoken publicly to conservative radio host Janet Mefferd about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.” During that appearance, he also singled out no-fault divorce, pornography and adultery as things the church needs to stand against.
David has also protested in front of abortion clinics, openly made anti-Muslim remarks, saying Muslims are “the enemy attacking” this country and expressed strong anti-same sex marriage views, saying it “‘erodes the moral fabric of our society’ and ‘threaten[s] future generations.'”
The brothers released a statement to USA Today this morning, saying they’re “saddened” by HGTV’s decision and reiterating their dedication to their Christian faith.
“…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 brothers end their statement with, “If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”
The single line on Twitter and Facebook are the only statements HGTV has made on the topic (as far as we can see at this time) and that may be the best course of action since the information came to light before the show taped or aired. There’s no need for further explanation. We get it.
Reality TV has opened lots of doors and made a lot of money for everyone involved — the “talent,” producers, etc. But these sorts of revelations have become one of the pitfalls for networks. As in the Duck Dynasty debacle, there’s audio and video evidence of what the Benhams have done and said, so they weren’t hiding their beliefs. If HGTV had done even a Google search, they probably would have come across some of this information, particularly since their father is a big name in the anti-choice movement.
Chances are, HGTV is breathing a big sigh of relief that the plan didn’t go any further. Besides, they still have a pair of hot twin brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, the Property Brothers, to fall back on. This new show sounds like it was going to be largely a knock-off of their show anyway.