Five-time boxing champion Evander Holyfield, known for his Christian faith, has been scolded by a narrator on a reality television show in the United Kingdom for expressing biblical views about homosexuality.
The narrator on the "Big Brother" show warned him: "Before you entered the Big Brother house, the rules regarding unacceptable language and behavior were explained to you. Last night in a conversation with Luisa, you expressed the view that being gay was not normal and that it could be fixed.
"Expressing these views will be offensive," Holyfield was told. "Big Brother does not tolerate the use of offensive language and must warn you to consider very carefully the effect expressing such views may have and the harm and offense you may cause by repeating these views inside the house."
Holyfield, whose online biography notes he won some $230 million in the boxing ring and has "tried to do some good with it, giving millions to the church and to various causes he supported," had been filmed in a conversation with another reality show participant, Luisa.
She raised the subject, asking if there are homosexual athletes. He said yes.
She then complained that "no one stands up and says that."
Holyfield's answer was direct.
"The Bible lets you know that's wrong, that's right," he said.
She argued that some people are just that way.
"If you're born and your leg was turned this way, what do you do? You go to the doctor and get it fixed right?" Holyfield asked.
When Luisa said it's "not about being fixed," Holyfield said: "You know how handicapped people. … You can't say because they were born that way you can't move that."
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality defended Holyfield.
"Portions of the conversation are hard to make out, but essentially Holyfield compares homosexuality to a handicap and then commits the unpardonable sin – in the eyes of pro-homosexual ideologues – of saying it is a choice."
LaBarbera said the "faceless 'Big Brother' scolding at the end is priceless as the accusing British 'Big Brother' producer plays the role of America's GLAAD – dictating that Holyfield's speech against homosexuality is unacceptable and will not be allowed."
"The episode hits close to home for what is happening in the Western world, such as Canada's 'hate speech' law, and we at AFTAH have no doubts that more than a few 'gay' activists similarly would love to ban speech they deem 'offensive.'"
The story developed only weeks after the Arts & Entertainment Network in the U.S. suspended "Duck Dynasty" superstar Phil Robertson on a complaint by GLAAD regarding his condemnation of homosexual behavior.
The backlash from the show's supporters and sponsors convinced A&E to back down. The network plans to resume work on the programming with Phil Robertson and the rest of the "Dynasty" cast.
A&E explained that as "a global media content company, A&E Networks' core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect."
"We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals. That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson."
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Robertson's comments came in an interview with GQ magazine in which he championed biblical values and the battle against breaking God's commandments.
"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. ... Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he said.
Paraphrasing a passage from the book of I Corinthians, he said: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.
"We're Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television," he said of his family's instant rise to fame. "You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let's get on with it, and everything will turn around."