News and Commentary

IndieWire Demands Hallmark Channel Make Its First ‘LGBT Movie’
A general view of a Hallmark Cards logo seen in South Edmonton Common. a retail power centre located in Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After Hallmark Channel pledged its allegiance to GLAAD in the wake of its decision to pull an ad that featured two lesbians kissing, the site IndieWire has now called upon the channel to make its first “LGBT movie.”

“If Hallmark really wants to make an impact and show the LGBTQ community its commitment to inclusivity, it should greenlight an LGBTQ script ASAP,” argued Jude Dry.

Jude Dry’s call echoed that of GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, who said that LGBTQ people “are, and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change.” According to Dry, a more inclusive Hallmark Channel would be like the company’s greeting card wing, which already features “a robust offering of LGBTQ-friendly holiday cards.” By featuring an LGBT romance, Dry believes that would help show that Hallmark Channel puts its money where its mouth is.

“After all, Hallmark has perfected its tried-and-true formula — generic, cozy, formulaic — over years, it wouldn’t be hard to simply swap one gender in its pile of un-produced scripts,” Dry wrote. “Better yet, solicit an up-and-coming LGBTQ writer to craft the script, hire an LGBTQ director and cast the movie with LGBTQ actors.”

“In an ideal world, an LGBTQ Hallmark movie would be exactly like every other Hallmark movie, except with queer actors playing the estranged twins who decide to swap lives,” Dry continued.

The #BoycottHallmarkChannel hashtag began trending this past Saturday after the company canceled a Zola ad featuring a kissing lesbian couple from airing on its platform. The company’s decision followed a petition from the family activist group One Million Moms, which had argued that LGBT content violates the Hallmark Channel’s “family-friendly” programming.

“Until recently, Hallmark had a good record for keeping their movies and commercials family-friendly,” the petition said. “Now, parents can no longer trust Hallmark because Hallmark is no longer allowing parents to be the primary educators when it comes to sex and sexual morality. Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel.”

After taking a severe beating on social media from LGBT activists and their allies, Hallmark Channel reversed course and apologized for canceling the ad, vowing to work with the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to make amends.

“Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands,” the company said in a statement. “The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

Mike Perry, the CEO of Hallmark Cards, Inc., apologized for having caused “hurt and disappointment” and promised to build a more inclusive atmosphere in the company’s programming.

“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” Perry said. “Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused. Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”