(LifeSiteNews) — The Chosen is facing widespread boycott calls after the show’s director and several actors defended the presence of LGBT “pride” flags on set.
Last month, the popular Christian-themed TV series released a promotional video with behind-the-scenes footage revealing a “pride” flag on the set of the show. A cameraman can also be seen wearing a rainbow flag in the video.
Can you explain why there’s a Pride flag on set? pic.twitter.com/U8WUsXgOHW
— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) May 29, 2023
Pressed about the video, the official Twitter account of The Chosen posted a statement saying that the show “will work with anyone,” without apologizing for the flags or reaffirming biblical morality.
“Just like with our hundreds of cast and crew who have different beliefs (or no belief at all) than we do, we will work with anyone on our show who helps us portray or honor the authentic Jesus,” the statement reads. “We ask that audiences let the show speak for itself and focus on the message, not the messenger, because we’ll always let you down.”
The response failed to satisfy many fans, who blasted The Chosen for allowing employees to promote homosexuality and transgenderism on set.
Absolutely zero reason to have the flag out on display on set regardless of anyone’s personal beliefs.
— Five Times August (@FiveTimesAugust) June 1, 2023
I’ve donated multiple thousands of $, but I have to stop. I never force my faith and I’m in no position 2 judge, but it’s very easy to respectfully let the employee know that the flag is inappropriate on the set of a show about Jesus Christ. I’ve deleted the App. @thechosentv
— Common_Sense3 (@Common_sense77) May 30, 2023
So so sad to now have to cancel @thechosentv in our household. It was literally the LAST thing I let our kids watch. Now everything has been taken from them by the rainbow mafia. Supporting The Chosen is now supporting the pride flag.
— Brianna Neuschafer (@breezzygirl) May 30, 2023
This is disappointing. Not only is there no reason to bring a flag of any sort to your workplace, bringing one that mocks Christians onto the set of a supposedly Christian show is a slap in the face to the Christians that have opened their wallets to bankroll your production.
— NotTexCobb (@tex_cobb) May 30, 2023
The Chosen actors back LGBT ideology, attack critics
Amid growing backlash, multiple Chosen actors took to Twitter last week to attack those outraged by the “pride” flags and declare their support for LGBT ideology.
Jordan Ross, who portrays St. James the Lesser, lashed out at “hateful critics” and hailed the “love and acceptance displayed on our set” in a tweet with a rainbow flag.
“As one of the actors on The Chosen, I am so proud of the love and acceptance displayed on our set every day. That’s not going to change no matter what some hateful critics say,” he wrote.
Giavani Cairo, who depicts St. Jude on the show, followed, telling offended fans to “close the door on the way out” in another tweet with an LGBT flag.
“Another one of the actors on The Chosen here. Anyone who is going to go at one of our family members for something like this, is no fan of ours,” Cairo said. “They can close the door on the way out.”
George H. Xanthis, who portrays the St. John the Apostle, retweeted Cairo’s post.
Ross subsequently shared a tweet celebrating “pride” month and took aim at conservative Christian commentator Jon Root, who drew attention to the LGBT flags on the set of The Chosen and urged viewers to boycott the show.
“My brother @GCairo06 isn’t the only one who stands by the LGBTQ members of our Chosen family get outta here with your hate, homophobia and ignorance. Not very Jesus-like of you, Jonny,” he tweeted at Root.
The actor who plays Judas Iscariot on the series also endorsed “pride” month and dismissed boycott calls in a tweet on Thursday. “Happy Pride Month y’all,” Luke Dimyan said.
The tweets unsurprisingly sparked a fresh wave of outrage among fans.
Did this guy just pervert the words of Christ ? How are you an actor on a show you know nothing about ? Nah, this is crazy.
— Ken Arias (@dumlabsKen) June 2, 2023
Loving and accepting unrepented sin is the cruelest thing a Christian can do.
— PJMo (@PJMWCF12) June 1, 2023
Judas doesn’t break character, I see.
— Addison Smith (@AddisonSmithTV) June 2, 2023
Scripture condemns homosexuality as an “abomination” (Lev 18:22), a mortal sin (1 Cor 6:9-10), a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance (Gen 18:20, 19:13), and contrary to the Gospel and sound teaching (1 Tim 1:10).
St. Jude — the apostle Cairo portrays — decries sodomy in his epistle as unnatural lust for which Sodom and Gomorrah suffer “a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).
God created humanity “male and female” and ordained marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman (Gen 1:27, 2:24; Mt 19:4-6). Scripture also teaches that love means following God’s commandments (1 Jn 5:2-3) and that love “does no wrong to a neighbor” (Rom 13:10), which necessarily precludes committing or advocating for sin.
Director defends ‘pride’ flags on set, actors’ tweets
Dallas Jenkins, the creator and director of The Chosen, responded to the controversy in a nearly 20-minute video on Sunday, defending LGBT flags on the set and affirming that the show allows employees to promote LGBT ideology.
“Our policy, my policy — I’ll take it on — mine, my partner’s policy, is that we just don’t stop one of our crew members from having a three-inch ‘pride’ flag on his own personal equipment,” he said, clearly irritated. “If that’s enough for you to stop watching the show, that’s fine, that’s your choice.”
Jenkins, a professed evangelical Christian, described the employee with the LGBT flag as “one of my favorite crew members, actually,” and noted that “he’s had it [the flag] on his equipment on our project for over a year.”
“In fact, when we filmed the feeding of the 5,000, some of our crew members, in fact, one of our crew members had this ‘pride’ flag on his own personal equipment then too,” he acknowledged.
Jenkins further explained that the show does not “police individual workspaces or social media.”
Cast and crew “can say what they want on social media, and as long as they are not harming anyone else on set, you know, kind of the usual rules of, you know, everyone just kind of respecting each other, they’re their own person,” Jenkins continued, apparently not recognizing the promotion of grave sin as “harming anyone else.”
He also appeared to defend cast members’ pro-LGBT tweets and attacks on conservative Christians, saying that he told actors they “can say what you want.”
Last week, some of our cast said some things online that I wouldn’t have said, and we talked about it, and I just said, ‘You can say what you want, but I think, you know, here’s examples of wisdom that we could practice.’ But that’s just how we’ve operated from the beginning. So this particular issue this week, this is not our problem.
Despite concerns from fans, Jenkins stressed that he does not change policy “based on responses” and, therefore, “there’s nothing for us to do about this.”
“So there’s nothing for us to do about this, because I don’t change my mind based on responses, but there’s nothing for us to do but repeat what we’ve already said, and if this issue bothers you that’s fine, but that’s not really something for us to be concerned with or try to change,” he said.
The director additionally clarified that the company that produces The Chosen is actually not a Christian organization but a for-profit company without a religious affiliation.
“We don’t have any kind of corporate policy about statements of faith or anything like that. We don’t have corporate prayer on our set, and we have all kinds of employees. There’s no statement of faith they’re required to sign. Like I just said, there’s no off-set clauses, like, you know, off the set this is how you have to behave or anything like that,” he said.
“We are not a church. We are not a non-profit. We’re not a ministry. We’re not any kind of religious or political organization,” Jenkins stated.
Homosexual, cross-dressing cameraman wears ‘pride’ flags on Chosen set
The rainbow patches in The Chosen‘s promotional video closely resemble those of Daniel Fritz, a homosexual Steadicam operator for the show in a same-sex relationship who has posted several photos and videos of himself on social media wearing LGBT “pride” shirts and flags while working on the set of The Chosen.
The cameraman wearing the rainbow flag in the video can also be seen wearing what appears to be a patch that says “Steadidan,” which is Fritz’s Facebook handle.
Images posted on social media by Fritz show him cross–dressing while filming other shows, including the sexually explicit, LGBT-themed Netflix series Special, which, in Fritz’s words, discusses “the complexities of gay sex.”
In another post celebrating “National Coming Out Day,” Fritz condemns “’Republican run states saying they’re ‘protecting the children’” and poses with an image that says “Make America Gay Again.”
Not The Chosen’s first scandal
The “pride” flag scandal is hardly the first time The Chosen has landed in controversy.
The show previously faced scathing criticism from faithful Catholics for blasphemously portraying the Blessed Virgin Mary as having committed mistakes and painfully birthing Jesus, contradicting the dogmas of Her Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity.
The Chosen also depicts St. Mary Magdalene as an alcoholic who relapses after Jesus initially forgives her, which has no basis in Scripture.
In 2020, Jonathan Roumie, the actor who portrays Jesus on The Chosen, headlined an event with heretical Fr. James Martin, SJ, at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Illinois. Roumie stated in a Facebook post that “Fr. Jim‘s book was a huge part of my prep going into Season One for @thechosentvseries!”
Roumie did not specify what book he was referring to. Martin is well known for his infamous 2017 pro-LGBT book Building a Bridge, in which he rejects Catholic doctrine that homosexual tendencies are disordered and suggests that God creates certain individuals as homosexuals, in contradiction to Church teaching.
Yasmine Al-Bustami, who plays Rama, a fictional disciple of Jesus on The Chosen, also plays a lesbian character in a homosexual relationship on CBS’ NCIS: Hawai’i.