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HGTV pulls plug on reality show starring Christian activists

The network “decided not to move forward” with a reality show starring David and Jason Benham, who are vocal opponents of abortion and homosexuality.
David Benham in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 2, 2012.
David Benham in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 2, 2012.

Home & Garden Television quietly announced Wednesday the network “decided not to move forward” with the reality show "Flip It Forward" starring twin brothers David and Jason Benham, vocal opponents of women’s right to choose, homosexuality and no-fault divorce.

Channeling their own experiences flipping houses for profit, episodes were supposed to show the brothers helping other families buy and transform a fixer-upper, then sell it – “with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry between the brothers along the way.”

HGTV made the final announcement – via a tweet and a Facebook post -- just one day after an extensive online report chronicled the anti-choice and anti-gay views of one of its hosts.

Right-Wing Watch first called attention to the conservative activism of David Benham on Tuesday. He is the son a prominent right-wing activist, Flip Benham, who among other things has reportedly blamed the Aurora shooting on Democrats and the September 11 attacks on abortion rights. Benham senior also serves as the director of Operation Save America, an organization that protests outside of abortion clinics.

Perhaps following in his father’s footsteps, a YouTube clip posted in May 2013 shows David Benham protesting outside of an abortion clinic with a microphone in hand proclaiming, “These people need the love of Jesus” and “God will close these clinics.”

The brothers also arranged a prayer rally, Charlotte 7:14, to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

When discussing the event, David Benham told Christian radio host Janet Mefferd they were speaking out against “abortion on demand,” “no-fault divorce,” “pornography and perversion,” “a homosexuality agenda that’s attacking the nation,” “adultery” and allowing “demonic ideologies to take our universities and public school systems.”

The brothers openly present their Christian beliefs and missionary initiatives on their business website. In one section, a quote from Jason reads, "For us to take credit for building a successful business would be like a shovel taking credit for digging a hole. We're simply the tools God chose to use to build a successful business."

The network acted swiftly in its decision, though no other details were made public. After Right-Wing Watch’s background story broke, they issued a statement saying “HGTV is currently in process of reviewing all information about the Benhams and we will provide an update as soon as possible.”

Asked for comment, David and Jason Benham provided the following statement to msnbc:

“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.”

"Flip It Forward," which was originally supposed to debut in October, was touted by HGTV less than a month ago as part of its new fall line-up.