David and Jason Benham — the two would-be reality stars who lost their planned home renovation show on the Home and Garden Television network last month after they came under attack for their past activism on marriage and abortion — are scheduled to address conservatives at a political gathering in Washington this week.
In a phone interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday, the Benham Brothers previewed their remarks ahead of the Road to Majority conference and reflected on HGTV’s decision to cut ties with them because of their history of speaking out against gay marriage, abortion and divorce.
“I’ll be asking political leaders to stand strong in the face of opposition and recapping a little bit of our history, our nation’s history,” David Benham told TheDC. “Why it’s important for us to be men and women of values and stand for those values.”
“Change happens from the inside out,” Jason Benham added. “True and lasting change will only happen from the inside out. Politics oftentimes feels from the outside in.”
The Road to Majority conference, sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, bills itself as the “premier event for people of faith and conservative activists.” It will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel from Thursday to Saturday.
A host of potential Republican candidates for president are expected to address attendees, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“We’re not necessarily saying, ‘OK, everybody’s got to vote for conservatives now and then we’ll win,'” David Benham said. “No, we’re saying, ‘People need to return back to the God that created them and the God that made this nation great and when we become a virtuous people, our votes will naturally follow that virtue.'”
Before HGTV canceled the show last month, the network described it this way: “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.”
But HGTV, without much explanation to the public, announced they had “decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series” days after the liberal activist website, Right Wing Watch, posted a story online headlined, “HGTV Picks Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Extremist For New Reality TV Show.”
The story reported that David Benham led a prayer rally in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention and had spoken out publicly against gay marriage.
The Benhams told TheDC on Tuesday that several other networks have since expressed interest in picking up their show, but no deal has been inked yet.
“We have received very earnest interest from two networks in particular,” David Benham said. “There have been a couple other networks that have batted it around.”
The show was canceled after the brothers were about halfway done shooting the first season; they had completed five weeks of a planned 10-week shoot.
HGTV has informed them through their attorney that they will not hand over the footage that was already filmed for the show. “Now we firmly know all the footage and everything we had has officially been buried,” David Benham said.
But the brothers said they understand HGTV’s decision.
“This is HGTV’s property,” Jason Benham explained. “It’s theirs. We knew it was theirs. And when we got fired, they had every right to keep that footage. It’s their show. And if they don’t want to air it, they don’t have to.”
Even though the show was cancelled, the Benhams said they still made sure the houses underwent the planned renovations. “Three of them are done, and three of them are almost done,” Jason Benham said.
“HGTV held to their commitments with the family, the contractors held to their commitments, and Jason and I held to our commitments,” David Benham said. “We tried to go above and beyond.”
About three weeks ago, the Benhams held a private meeting with all the families and the contractors at their office.
“It was really a special moment for all the families,” David Benham said. “And Jason and I let them know, ‘Listen, we will not divulge any of your information or anything like that,’ but all of them, unanimously, were in support of my brother and I, were really saddened about the show.”
As the Benhams hope someone else picks up their show, they acknowledge they have heard that some networks have told people they “wouldn’t touch the Benhams. We wouldn’t want the Benhams.”
“What would you not want about us?” David Benham asked. “What about our real estate company doesn’t attract you? What about our family? What about the way we are with our kids? What about that doesn’t attract you? Well, it isn’t about our ways. It’s not about our ways, it’s just about our words. And if that’s the case, we don’t need to be on TV if that’s how it’s going to be.”