Reichen Lehmkuhl, who won $1 million on CBS's The Amazing Race in 2003 along with his former partner, Chip Arndt, is looking for a new printer for the posters he sells, since his previous printer discovered that the beefcake images he was producing depicted "a homosexual."
"I can not continue to help promote a homosexual community, lifestyle, or individual," the printer wrote in a letter dated Tuesday, a copy of which was provided to Advocate.com. "I have decided to give you a 30-day notice, in which you can find another printing company to do this work for you."
The printer, Mark Jones of Vacaville, Calif., wrote that he discovered that Lehmkuhl is gay by visiting his Web site, www.reichen.org. "I learned you are a homosexual, and your web-site is helping to promote a homosexual lifestyle. Not only in adults, but in underage children as well."
Jones continued, "I am raising 3 great children, and I want them to know their dad is helping to promote a moral lifestyle."
Lehmkuhl said he is considering legal action against the printer under California's civil rights laws. But, he told Advocate.com, "it's not even so much the lawsuit that matters, it's that this person is creating hate and obviously teaching his children hate. And, unfortunately for him, it's going to come back to haunt him, and it's going to have nothing to do with a lawsuit or anybody even on this planet. Because karma's a bitch."
Jones, himself a photographer and a primitive-style painter, cited his faith as a "God-fearing Christian" as reason for canceling his agreement with Lehmkuhl. "God makes it clear homosexuality is wrong," he wrote. "People are not born gay, anymore than they are born adulterers. Or murders [sic]. Or thieves. It is the choices they make that they will be judged by."
Jones's own Web site, curiously named Let's Be Progressive.com, includes a lengthy page of "Policies and Procedures" that includes a prohibition on materials "that contain, promote, or elude [sic] to hate, racism, national origins and ethnic defamations, political subversion, political party subversion, anti-social items, anti-homosexuality, pro-homosexuality, anti-abortion, pro-abortion, government subversion, anti-government, pro-environmental, anti-environmental, pro-animal rights activism, anti-animal rights activism, pro-religious activism, anti-religious activism, pro-God activism, anti-God activism, specific character or specific person defamation and or slander, anti-American, or the like."
Jones's letter to Lehmkuhl ends by suggesting that Reichen "examine yourself from a moral standpoint" and offers "to answer any questions you have regarding the basis of my actions."
Lehmkuhl responded with a letter of his own, to Jones: "Being a very spiritual person myself, I pray to God for you and your family," he wrote. "I pray that you find out who Jesus the Christ really was and that you do not fall to the rhetoric taught by humans long after He lived."
He continued, "You are lucky to never know what it feels like to get a letter like the one you just sent me. You have caused tears and pain to my family, friends, and my community. It hurts me, it hurts the world, and it hurts God."
Lehmkuhl also told Advocate.com that it's an ironic time for him to be battling in his private life against someone's irrational fears: He will appear on a special "reality TV" edition of NBC's Fear Factor on Monday, February 28.
Click here to read the full letter from Progressive Ventures.