UPDATE: According to reports Friday afternoon, SunTrust has reversed its decision after a campaign mounted by supporters of the Benham brothers.
Earlier this month, HGTV caved to pressure from leftist groups who complained the stars of a new program were too conservative. The cable network promptly cancelled a home renovation show, titled “Flip It Forward,” starring David and Jason Benham.
Even though the program was not set to include any political or religious undertones, the radical leftist website Right Wing Watch launched a campaign against the Benham family, members of which have expressed faith-based objection to abortion and gay marriage.
The brothers, however, expressed at the time that they were not willing to sacrifice their personal beliefs in the pursuit of a TV show.
Unfortunately for the beleaguered duo, the backlash against their conservative values reportedly continued with a shocking move by SunTrust Bank, which owns a large number of homes listed by the brothers’ current business. According to a Daily Caller report, the institution announced it is pulling those listings, essentially ruining the Benham’s business.
Nevertheless, Jason said he will stand firm on what he believes in the midst of these attacks.
“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business,” he said, “then so be it.”
David explained how quickly the news came, explaining what SunTrust’s revocation of the brothers’ ‘preferred broker’ status will mean.
“We were caught off guard with this one,” he said. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”
Mike McCoy, a spokesperson for the SunTrust, said the bank does “not publicly comment on specific vender relationships,” though the timing of its decision leaves plenty of room for speculation.
Franchisees of the Benham’s business have also been negatively affected, despite the brother’s assertion that many of them “do not hold the same beliefs” as them.
“It is highly unusual for a big asset manager to reassign assets without cause,” said one franchisee, Joel Morimanno. “I even offered to waive my commissions on the sale of the property; but they refused and said they were required to reassign the property.”
A sympathetic group, Faith Driver Consumer, has launched a countermeasure opposing the HGTV decision with FlipThisDecision.com.
Organization founder Chris Stone explained the troubling precedent set by the most recent development in the ongoing saga.
“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,” he said.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Benham Brothers