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Benham brothers lose HGTV show after 'anti-gay' remarks

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
updated 4:18 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The brothers tell CNN they believe HGTV was bullied into its decision
  • NEW: "We love all people. I love homosexuals," says David Benham
  • He was quoted as making remarks against homosexuality
  • Pair said: "If our faith costs us a television show then so be it"

Tune in to "New Day" during the 6 a.m. hour to hear from David and Jason Benham.

(CNN) -- Twin brothers David and Jason Benham have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.

The brothers ran afoul of the network after the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair, labeling David Benham as an "anti-gay, anti-choice extremist" for reportedly leading a prayer rally in 2012 outside of the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The site posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation" and "demonic ideologies" taking hold in colleges and public schools.

Benham also discusses the fight for North Carolina's Amendment One, which involved a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution.

Anti-gay comments cost twins HGTV show

The Benham brothers were the planned stars of the HGTV show "Flip It Forward," set to premiere in October, in which they would have helped families purchase homes they otherwise could not afford.

An April press release described the planned show this way: "After a decade of 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."

But after the post went public, HGTV tweeted, "HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series."

Thursday night, Jason Benham told CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that HGTV had vetted the pair.

"When they -- a year and a half ago -- saw some of the footage where my brother was saying the things he was saying, they spoke with us.

"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.

"We've been running a successful real estate company for the last 11 years and we help all people. There is no discrimination," said Jason Benham.

His comments were echoed by his brother.

"We love all people. I love homosexuals. I love Islam, Muslims, and my brother and I would never discriminate. Never have we -- never would we," said David Benham.

"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 added.

The brothers believe HGTV was bullied into its decision because of the media firestorm.

"It was too much for them to bear and they had to make a business decision," David Benham said.

Earlier, the brothers released a statement:

"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. 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.

"We were saddened to hear HGTV's decision. 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."

There is also a YouTube video of David Benham speaking at a "celebration" of a closing of an abortion clinic in 2013. Website GlobalFlare.com, which emphasizes "positive news and entertainment," called it a "smear campaign" against the brothers.

The organization Faith Driven Consumer, which started a campaign in support of Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty," has launched #FlipThisDecision, a petition aimed at reinstating the HGTV show.

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