SunTrust Banks has reversed its decision to end its business relationship with the Benham brothers after fierce backlash from customers.
It was revealed Friday morning that SunTrust Banks ended its relationship with real estate developers Jason and David Benham, whose show was axed from HGTV for their Christian faith.
The bank had promptly dropped all its listed properties with the Benham brothers, but as soon news broke, the bank received strong opposition and backlash from conservative customers, who threatened to leave the bank.
However, by the afternoon, the decision was reversed, with SunTrust spokesman Beth McKenna quickly releasing a statement regarding the company's sudden U-turn.
"We clarified our policies with our vendor and they have reinstated the listings with Benham Real Estate," McKenna stated, according to The Daily Caller.
"Mid-2013, we consolidated the management of certain residential assets with a third party vendor, which has the relationship with Benham Real Estate.
"While we do not publicly comment on specific vendor relationships, we don't make choices on suppliers nor base business decisions on political factors, nor do we direct our third party vendors to do so."
She continued, "SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion."
Company spokesman Mike McCoy did not specify why the Benham brothers were initially dropped in the first place and no official reason has been given yet.
McCoy stated early Friday: "We continuously review our supplier relationships and changes to the list of companies we rely on for services is a natural part of our business, however we do not publicly comment on specific vender relationships," McCoy said.
The Benham Brothers' HGTV reality show, which was set to air later this year, was plugged over night after liberal advocacy group Right Wing Watch posted to its blog a detailed history of the brothers protesting LGBT events, abortion, and gay marriage legislation.
On May 8, within a day of the blog being published, HVTV announced the cancellation of the Benham Brothers' show, "Flip it Forward".
The network tweeted simply, "HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series."
At the time, the brothers released a statement emphasizing that Christianity is the center of their lives and that they are unfazed about HGTV's decision.
"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," they wrote. "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."
They continued, "We were saddened to hear HGTV's decision," they wrote. "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."
When news of SunTrust Banks cutting ties with the brothers initially broke on the morning of May 15, Jason Benham took to Facebook and stated: "If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it."
David Benham also stated: "This came without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period on May 15, 2014. "Keeping us off television wasn't enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace. As Americans we find ourselves at a crossroads and are forced with a decision to either stand up or sit down. Evidently, SunTrust's longstanding commitment to diversity must not include our historic Christian values."http://www.christiantoday.com/article/suntrust.banks.reverses.decision.end.business.benham.brothers.uproar.conservative.customers/37514.htm