NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Two brothers shown the door by HGTV before their upcoming real estate show made it on the air say that if their Christian faith cost them a shot at TV fame, “then so be it.”
Twins David and Jason Benham said Thursday they were disappointed that HGTV pulled the plug on “Flip it Forward,” due to debut in October. After the network announced the show was upcoming, the lobbying group Right Wing Watch labeled David Benham an “anti-gay, anti-choice extremist” and reported on past statements he made against homosexuality and gay marriage.
HGTV spokeswoman Audrey Adlam refused to say why the show was shelved.
The Benhams, based in Concord, North Carolina, had planned to use their experience buying cheap homes and renovating them in their new show.
“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,” they said in a statement. “If our faith costs us a television show, then so be it.”
They said that “anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying.”
Right Wing Watch said David Benham led a prayer rally in 2012 to “stop homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.” The group said Benham publicly supported passage of a North Carolina constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Outside a prayer rally David Benham organized in 2012, ahead of the democrats arriving for the DNC convention, he reportedly said he believed gays were among a group of “demonic ideologies” taking hold in colleges and public schools.
The Benhams’ spokesman, Sylvester Smith, did not immediately return calls for comment about the lobbying group’s report. However, the brothers went on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Thursday evening to give their side.
Jason said that HGTV met with them and had concern for some of the things David was quoted as saying but “they got to know us a little better and then they made a judgment call, recognizing that David and I have no hate in our heart for anyone.”
David insisted he doesn’t hate gay people.
“Never have I ever spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda. And that’s really what the point of this is — is that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith,” he said.
The twins’ father is the Rev. Philip “Flip” Benham, an evangelical pastor who heads Operation Save America, a North Carolina-based anti-abortion group. The father was sentenced to 18 months of probation in 2011 after being convicted of stalking a Charlotte, North Carolina, abortion doctor; he had passed out hundreds of “wanted” posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.
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