As the Hallmark Channel tries to snuff out the controversy after they pulled an ad by Zola where two brides kiss, actress Hilarie Burton is explaining her experience with the network earlier this year.
She tweeted: “Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was ‘let go’ from back in January. I had insisted on a LGBTQ character, an interracial couple and diverse casting. I was polite, direct and professional. But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my … Requests were honored, I was told ‘take it or leave it.’ I left it. And the paycheck.”
“S—-y being penalized for standing up for inclusivity. I really wanted that job. It was close to my house. It paid really well. It was about the military, which you all know I hold dear.”
Burton says if given the chance, she would “walk away again in a heartbeat.”
“The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there,” she tweeted.
Id walk away again in a heartbeat. The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there. I’ve been loudly cheering for @lifetimetv all year because they heard my concerns + RALLIED! You want inclusive Christmas magic?! We got it.
Love is love🏳️🌈🎄💖 #receipts
— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) December 15, 2019
When the ad, which showed two women kissing at the altar, first gained notoriety, a spokesperson for Hallmark said they pulled the ad because it was creating a distraction from its happy-go-lucky shows.
“Crown Media Family Networks made the decision to pull the commercials. The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.”
The controversy blew up on Twitter, where the hash tag #BoycottHallmark got some good exposure.
GLAAD spoke out Hallmark Channel’s decision, saying the move was “discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.”
And Zola yanked its ads with the network, according to Mike Chi, chief marketing officer for Zola.
“All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark,” Chi said.
The Hallmark Channel pulled 4 TV ads featuring a lesbian couple kissing after a petition by the conservative group One Million Moms https://t.co/8kxOJTOaGv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 14, 2019
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis gave a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, which reads in part:
“The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.”
Ellis continued: “As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming. Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”
We can change the channel. That’s what I’ll do if I’m watching @HallmarkChannel & an ad w/gay people kissing comes on. My family—& many, many others—have appreciated their wholesome content. But the LGBTQ agenda bullies everybody—including them. https://t.co/gvpu80anj1
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 16, 2019
The Hallmark Channel says it will now bring back the commercial for the wedding planning site Zola, after complaints by conservative groups One Million Moms and Lifesite. But it’s unclear whether Zola wants to take them up on the offer.
Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry put out a statement, saying:
“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”
Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer: "All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark" https://t.co/jSMEpinWSY
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 15, 2019