Home and Garden Television made a decision to cancel David and Jason Benham’s Flip it Forward after controversial comments about “homosexuality,” made last year by David Benham, resurfaced.
The network hasn’t given a specific reason for abandoning the show, but enough hoopla surrounding Benham’s comments leaves little doubt that his dogmatic views were a factor in the decision.
Freedom of speech and religious expression arguments are in the air — with all the predictable disputes evoked when public figures threaten businesses by asserting personal moral views — but it’s incumbent to look at what Benham actually said. His words were, “we have abortion on demand, we have no-fault divorce, we have pornography and perversion; we have homosexuality and [an] agenda that is attacking the nation.”
If you want to stumble on the Holy Grail of foibles, attack gays, women’s reproductive rights, and no-fault divorce then link all those arguments to pornography and perversion and an agenda attacking our nation – all in one sentence. Most Americans know to avoid such conversations at dinner parties, let alone on television before launching a new product.
HGTV dropped the Wonder Twins before they activated them, and it shouldn’t be a surprise HGTV doesn’t want to take a gamble on two guys alienating an audience tuning in to improve their homes.
Responding quickly to controversial or offensive content isn’t new to HGTV. About a year ago, the network suggested American flags could be used as tablecloths for Fourth of July celebrations during an online segment. Viewers skewered the network, and HGTV quickly apologized. “This was a regrettable use of our Flag, and it never should have happened. We sincerely apologize and have removed the post from our website. We want to assure our fans that HGTV is proud of the American Flag and everything it symbolizes for our people,” the network stated.
David Benham’s words weren’t said on HGTV, just as Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberson’s comments weren’t made on A&E. But, Robertson’s comments didn’t keep him from a comeback — he’s been reinstated for Duck Dynasty’s fifth season — and Benham’s comments don’t assure the show won’t be picked up by another network in the future either.
But shockingly, in both cases, these men describe gays as the bullies and not the bullied — as if their own initial statements weren’t malicious. Forget shows on HGTV and A&E; this is the Twilight Zone. The notion that the “new normal” involves gays and lesbians as persecutors of their “straight” adult counterparts is both ironic and laughable.
Talk about taking a page out of your opponent’s playbook, right wing Christians chanting they are victims of the tyranny of a tiny majority like gays and lesbians is nothing short of poetic — and it’s the far right’s newest talking point. The idea that gay and lesbian youth, who are still intimidated into dropping out of school or even committing suicide because of the negative messages men like these defend, standing up in the faces of adult counterparts who may have once referred to them as queers means “It Gets Better” is more than just a campaign.
As long as more than 80 percent of Americans identify as Christians, I rebuke the notion that HGTV’s concession is just another example of a business being bullied. Gambling on a set of twins who are victimized by hearing words that came from their own mouths suggests they could be a challenge for the network.
Say what you want and call it freedom of speech. Burn a flag or use it as a tablecloth and call it freedom of religious expression. But don’t fool yourself into believing businesses are being bullied by a homosexual agenda. Chick-fil-A’s profits were up 12 percent last year and Duck Dynasty ducked its gay outcry too.
When it comes to corporations, cash is king and no amount of protest really interferes with their freedom of speech or religious expression; their Holy Grail is still the mighty dollar and HGTV’s worry isn’t making a political statement or they would have made one. HGTV’s concern is simply keeping their audience from flipping their channels to another broadcast.
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