On Thursday, Glenn reacted to HGTV’s decision to can a do-it-yourself program it planned to premiere this fall after media outlets began reporting on the hosts’ Christian views on issues like gay marriage and abortion. Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were scheduled to host Flip It Forward, a new renovation show that would help families make home improvements, and on radio this morning, the brothers joined Glenn to discuss the situation.
According to TheBlaze, the controversy began when Right Wing Watch, a blog that prides itself on “monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement,” published a scathing summary of the Benham brothers’ political activity, including information about their father, Flip Benham, who is known as an outspoken Christian minister.
Right Wing Watch accuses “at least one of the Benhams” of being a dedicated right-wing activist in the mold of his father, Flip Benham.” The article claims Flip Benham has shouted “Jesus hates Muslims” outside of mosques, blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, and made other controversial proclamations.
To begin, Glenn asked the Benhams if any of the hateful rhetoric attributed to them is true.
“Let me say quick. After reading that article… I started hating myself,” Jason said. “I thought, ‘Wow, I did not realize I hated Muslims. I didn't realize that I hated homosexuals. I didn't realize that I hated all these people.’ And if I hate all those people, then I hate myself.”
“Jason and I and our dad, we have never hated anyone. Jesus loves all people, and because Jesus lives in us, we love all people,” David explained. “There's a narrative that's been created to make Jason and I look like haters – they couldn't use our words necessarily. They had to try and pull some of our dad's words, even when he didn't say things that they said he said. They're just trying to create this narrative and make us haters. And you know what? It was actually very effective. And it worked.”
The brothers explained that they were approached 18 months ago about starring in the show and multiple networks expressed interest in the program. They decided to go with HGTV because “of their family-friendly programming.” The brothers maintained the network had done extensive research into their background, and they discussed some points of concern ahead of time.
“One comment was about the judgment begins in the house of God, and how we've allowed sex outside of marriage like adultery and pornography and homosexuality – including the homosexual agenda that's devastating our nation. And that was really a very difficult for them to understand. And I made it very clear distinction with HGTV. Look, I said nothing about anyone as individuals. I have, however, identified an agenda… There's a big difference there,” David explained. “So after we met in person with one of the executives, they realized, ‘You know what, these guys have no ill-intent. There's no hate in their heart’…And so we were starting to film.”
Once HGTV announced the show would be part of the network’s fall lineup, various outlets began looking into the brothers’ past and crafting a narrative.
“The media firestorm started with several of these bloggers and other things saying that we were anti- this and anti- that,” David said. “And they began to craft a narrative that a lot of other folks began to catch on to. And one small segment of culture started chiming in… and finally HGTV said, ‘Well, we have to make a business decision and move on.’ So that's really what happened.”
Ultimately, the brothers have absolutely no ill will toward the network, and their approach to the entire situation was remarkable.
“You guys said about HGTV that you actually felt bad for the people at HGTV,” Glenn said. “Can you explain that?”
“We felt like HGTV was pushed into a corner. We know those folks over there and they're great, heart-of-America-type people. They loved us, and we loved them. And we just felt that they were bullied into this,” they said. “We told them we understand. It's business, not personal. No harm. We love you guys, embrace you guys, and wish you the best.”
“It's a great perspective to have in a tough time,” Stu said.
While Glenn hasn’t had much interaction with the brothers, he was very encouraged by the conversation he had with them this morning.
“I will tell you this, David and Jason, I don't know you guys… [but] you sound like good Christians that I would be proud to call friends,” Glenn concluded. “I'd love to have you here next week if possible. I'd love to talk to you and have you on television and continue our conversation.”