After news quickly spread that their Home and Garden Television (HGTV) show "Flip It Forward" was being canceled before it even premiered, Jason and David Benham wasted no time in responding, saying that they believe the network was bullied into axing the show.
The Christian twins, who have built a successful business flipping houses over the past decade, were already halfway through filming the do-it-yourself series when the network abruptly canned the show amid controversy over their views on abortion and gay marriage, among other contentious issues.
"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," David Benhamtold CNN Thursday.
He added, "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."
In a somewhat surprising move, the brothers defended HGTV, noting that they believe the network's reaction was simply a business decision.
"We actually felt really bad for HG that they were pushed into this position. They simply said that we need to part ways," Jason said, noting that the network didn't cite a specific reason. "Our heart breaks for HGTV ... that the same thing that happens all the time when one view is able to be put out there, but then if you represent what we believe would be the pro-family view, you're not allowed to have that anymore."
The brothers did note that HGTV didn't explicitly cite their Christian views in the network's decision to part ways, though many suspect that a blog post composed by Right Wing Watch detailing the Benhams' views and activism directly led to their departure.
Echoing comments made earlier by their father, Flip Benham, Jason and David also said that HGTV knew a year and a half ago about some of their activism. But after getting to know the pair and seeing their ability to build a successful business, the network decided to proceed with the show.
"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," Jason told CNN.
David and Jason Benham (Images via @DavidDBenham and @JasonBBenham)
In an earlier statement Jason and David said that they were saddened by the decision, adding, "If our faith costs us a television show then so be it." Here's the complete 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.
"Flip It Forward" was set to premiere in October.