HGTV was planning to air a new show about fixing up houses for families in need, Flip It Forward. It was being hosted by twin brothers, David and Jason Benham, who have made a career of flipping houses. But the network decided to cancel the show after Right Wing Watch reported that the Benham twins do not agree with homosexuality, and have even led protests outside of abortion clinics. Initially HGTV said they were “currently in the process of reviewing all information about the Benhams,” and then they issued a tweet declaring that they would not move forward with the series.
While Right Wing did not call on HGTV to cancel the show, it appears that HGTV caved to the small amount of public pressure they received based on Right Wing Watch’s report. Shame on HGTV for not having the internal fortitude to stand up to the public pressure and say, “We understand that a large number of people do not agree with the personal views of David and Jason Benham, and we respect that. However, Flip It Forward is not a show about the Benham brothers’ personal views. It’s a show about helping financially-challenged families get their dream home. The Benham brothers’ experience in flipping houses makes them well-qualified to host this show, so we will continue to air the show with them as hosts. HGTV’s employment of the Benham brothers is not an endorsement of their views, but we believe people have a right to their own moral opinions, and that those of us who disagree have a responsibility to extend tolerance to those we disagree with. We believe a civilized, tolerant society must give space for people to believe and act according to their convictions, and do not agree with those who think anyone who doesn’t agree with them is not deserving of gainful employment. We can do better that as a society, and at HGTV, we are doing better than that. For those who find the Benham’s views distasteful, we would ask that you extend the same tolerance to them that you want extended to those who share your point of view. We ask that you set aside your personal differences with the Benham’s personal views, and allow yourself to enjoy and celebrate their work to help our mutual neighbors.” That’s the press release you’ll never see, but one that would be cheered by the vast majority of citizens, and I would suspect, the vast number of HGTV viewership.
The Benham brothers have responded graciously (see here and here).
Remember when they asked us, “How is same-sex marriage going to affect you?” This is how.