The popular specialty Home and Garden Television (HGTV) channel has cancelled an upcoming show called Flip it Forward. The show was supposed to be hosted by twin brothers and Liberty University graduates Jason and David Benham and was scheduled to air in October. However, on Wednesday the network made an announcement that they would not carry on with the show. Such a quick and unexpected cancellation of a show that was meant to help low income families raises the concern as to what agenda HGTV is following. Are they proving to be one-sided in their views towards society or was there truly an issue with regards towards the Benham brothers?
This announcement came after an article titled HGTV Picks Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Extremist For New Reality TV Show was published on Right Wing Watch, a liberal activist website. The article goes on to discuss that David organized a prayer rally in 2012, in which he publicly announced that homosexuality and its agenda is attacking the nation and thus needed to stop. He continued by calling homosexuality a demonic ideology that was taking over public school systems and universities. It does not come as a surprise that the father of Benham brothers is Flip Benham, an evangelical minister who heads an anti-abortion group. Flip Benham is head of the protest group called Operation Save America(OSA). OSA has organized protests against abortion and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, interfaith memorials and mosques. If HGTV made the decision against the brothers based on the above information, then the question must be raised about what truly separates the home improvement channel from the close minded opinions of Flip Benham?
The brothers were saddened with the decision of HGTV, but have issued a statement in which they announced that their faith is worth more than the TV show. They also added that those who suggested that the brothers were discriminating against homosexuals or those who did not share their faith, were simply misinformed. Both bothers had stated that they share a love for all people and David Benham had personally expressed his love for all men and women, regardless of religion, or orientation. They further commented that “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.”
The brothers also believe that HGTV was bullied into making this decision due to the negative media reports. The channel had to make a bureaucratic decision and the show ended up getting axed. HGTV announced the show at a presentation in Los Angeles. When the show was first announced it was described as “flipping houses for profit, brothers David Benham and Jason Benham now help families buy the homes they never thought they could afford. In each episode, the guys help a deserving family find a fixer-upper and transform it into their forever home — with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry between the brothers along the way.” At the same presentation, HGTV also announced that it would go ahead with a design competition show from Ellen DeGeneres.
Upon hearing about the show’s cancellation, there were many different reactions. Joy, from those who believe that there is no space for hate and extremist religious views on television and an outcry from those who now see the network as “Leftist” and one-sided. Many had said that the steps taken by HGTV were an infringement on the freedom of opinion. Others had also claimed that the network was trying to be tolerant, yet this tolerance had only applied to those whose views with which they agreed. Since then, the organization called Faith Driven Consumer has launched a petition called #FlipThisDecision, aimed at reinstating the HGTV show. If the channel has really decided to fight for equality of all, then is their hateful act against the Benham brothers one-sided?
By Ivelina Kunina