But all that changed after an obscure website called Right Wing Watch drew negative attention to the Benham’s conservative views with the headline, “HGTV Picks Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Extremist For New Reality TV Show.”
The story shed light on how the hosts’ father, Flip Benham, is an outspoken evangelical minister who leads an anti-abortion group. It also revealed that David Benhan led a prayer rally in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention and has spoken out against gay marriage.
As TheDC reported earlier this week, the hit on the Benham brothers started with the anti-Christian conservative movement in Hollywood. Right Wing Watch, the website that first attacked the brothers, is a project of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, which started with an assist from the left-wing Tides Foundation.
People for the American Way was founded with help from former television Norman Lear, a Hollywood executive producer credited with starting the anti-Christian-right movement in the 1980s.
This is how HGTV described the proposed Benham Brothers show last month, which was not expected to be about politics: “Flip It Forward will feature real estate entrepreneurs and dads, David Benham and Jason Benham, as they leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry to help families find a fixer-upper and transform it into the dream home they never thought they could afford.”
There has been a conservative backlash to the HGTV decision. A group, Faith Driven Consumer, has now launched an effort in support of the Benham brothers called FlipThisDecision.com. Nearly 18,000 people have a signed a petition asking the television network to reverse its decision.
Chris Stone, the founder of Faith Driven Consumer, called SunTrust “discriminatory, intolerant, and in direct opposition everything that America is about.” He said the organization will actively seek new banks “who will welcome” the Benham brothers “along with all of the other people that they serve.”
“SunTrust’s actions have effectively put into place a belief-oriented litmus test for its business partners seeking to compete in the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas,” Stone said.
“SunTrust Banks appears to have punished David and Jason Benham by taking action against their business purely based on their Christian beliefs,” he added. “This sends a loud and clear message to people of faith in America, you’re not welcome at SunTrust, take your business somewhere else.”