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“The Chosen” creator responds to critics of pride flag spotted on set

Dallas Jenkins, creator and director of “The Chosen” series, has responded to critics of an LGBTQ flag that was spotted on the set.

“We have made very clear from the beginning that there is no religious or political litmus test for our cast and crew, for anyone who is qualified to help us, help me tell this story,” he says. “We are not a church in which all of our employees are going to fit under one particular mission statement, one particular belief system.”

The social media storm picked up steam when “The Daily Wire” wrote a story about it alongside a photo of a crew member’s small, hand-sized pride flag displayed on a piece of equipment. “Daily Wire” CEO Jeremy Boreing later apologized for the story, saying it should not have run.

“When we hire someone to work for us, our number one objective is: Who is the best person for this job?” Jenkins said. “They come from a broad spectrum of beliefs, politically, spiritually, lack thereof — all of that. We made a decision from the beginning that our standard is going to be, `Will you work hard?’ And of course, if someone’s harming someone else or if someone’s vulgar, obviously, that’s not a place for any professional environment.

Jenkins says “over half of our cast and crew are agnostic or not of a particular faith background. And we’re hearing every day from thousands of people who are agnostic, atheist or coming at it from another perspective who are just watching it as a normal show.”

“But when it comes to their personal belief systems or what they want to wear or whatever, we’re not going to do what we’ve seen other people do, where sometimes you’ll see a Christian not allowed to wear a hat or express themselves or put a sticker on their desk that expresses their beliefs. And we always think that that’s unfortunate when an employer does something like that. We’re not going to do the same in reverse.”

The show is funded by crowdsourcing and has racked up more than 500 million episode views and garnered praise from both religious and secular news outlets.

The series’ gospel-centric message can have a positive impact on non-believers on set, Jenkins said. For example, Nick Shakoour, who portrays Zebedee, became a Christian in recent months.

“Nick has been very open about the fact that he has come to faith in Christ because of the show and because of our relationship and the people that we’ve introduced him to,” Jenkins said. “He’s not the only one.”

Some fans are calling for a boycott but others are not so quick and the show’s actors have come out to support the show.

Giavani Cairo, who plays the disciple Thaddeus on the series, supported the idea of letting those who are not believers be impacted by working with the production. He tweeted “Anyone who is going to go at one of our family members for something like this, is no fan of ours,” he wrote. “They can close the door on the way out ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ We stand with our brother.”

Not everyone at the Daily Wire supported the story about the flag. “This is a disgusting piece, and I’m sorry we ran it,” Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said on Twitter. “A show like The Chosen has 100+ employees. One of them brought a pride flag to work. That sucks, but it’s hardly the fault of the show.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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