HGTV fires Benham brothers for Christian beliefs; 'If faith costs us a TV show then so be it,' say brothers
The network pulled the plug after protests from gay activists.
After facing criticism from gay activists for hiring the Benham brothers, HGTV has pulled the plug on "Flip it Forward" less than a month after announcing the show.
The series was to feature the former house-flipping twins turning fixer-uppers into dream homes, but was axed after the brothers were labeled anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-abortion by liberal advocacy group Right Wing Watch.
David and Jason Benham were described as "real estate entrepreneurs and dads" in a press release, who would "leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry" on the on-air renovation show. HGTV announced "Flip it Forward" on April 18, and the series was set to air in October 2014.
On May 6, a Right Wing Watch blog post detailed the brothers' history of protesting LGBT events, abortion, and gay marriage legislation. The twins' father, Flip Benham, is the director of Operation Save America, a conservative Christian organization that has opposed abortion, homosexuality, and non-Christian religions for decades.
Jason and David organised a North Carolina prayer rally to protest same-sex marriage, and David has protested outside of abortion clinics.
David has been the more vocal brother in his opposition to gay marriage, frequently upholding biblical marriage in media interviews and online.
"If we are going to continue as a nation we must preserve and protect the most sacred institutions of society, specifically marriage & family," Benham wrote in a 2012 Christian Post blog entry.
HGTV announced the cancelation of "Flip it Forward" one day after Right Wing Watch published their article on the Benham brothers.
The network tweeted simply, "HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series."
The brothers released a statement Thursday morning, stating that Christianity is the center of their lives.
"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," they wrote.
They also rejected claims that they hate gays, Muslims, or other groups.
"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 expressed disappointment in the cancelation, but said that their religious beliefs are paramount.
"We were saddened to hear HGTV's decision," they wrote. "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."