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It seems the Hallmark Channel has come under fire from multiple directions in recent days: From the Left for not being diverse enough and from the Right for including LGBTQ content.
According to The Hill, thousands of moms have petitioned the channel to halt its hosting of LGBTQ-related material on its platform.
“One Million Moms, a branch of the American Family Association, has posted a petition of complaint after Hallmark aired a Zola commercial that featured a lesbian couple getting married and sharing a kiss. Its petition has almost 22,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon,” reports the outlet.
The petition accused Hallmark of departing from its “family-friendly” roots by harboring the Zola commercial, citing numerous complaints from offended viewers.
“Until recently, Hallmark had a good record for keeping their movies and commercials family-friendly,” the petition says. “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.”
One Million Moms quoted several viewers who expressed discontent over the Zola commercial and claimed they were caught off-guard in front of their children.
“Our family was watching a wonderful Hallmark movie based on a true story. It was late, but our daughter was up late with us,” one viewer began. “During the commercial break, there was a commercial from Zola with two women lip locking! Please, Hallmark … You are one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with this issue! … We love you but won’t keep watching with this type of ads.”
The commercial aired shortly after Michelle Vicary, vice president of programming at Hallmark channel, told The Wrap that the channel will be developing LGBTQ-related content in the near future. Though some conservatives have expressed dismay over this development, the channel took some serious flak recently when The Hollywood Reporter (THR) chastised the outlet for a lack of racial and religious diversity during the Christmas season.
“Of the network’s record 24 original holiday movies this season, four of them have black leads,” reported THR. “And that’s down from last year, when five of its 21 original holiday movies had black leads.”
“Missing from Hallmark’s festive roster? Any other religion in the title,” the report later noted. “That’s especially interesting given that Hallmark last year announced that it would be producing two Hanukkah movies in 2019 — ‘Holiday Date’ (Dec. 14) and a ‘Double Holiday’ (Dec. 22). ‘Double Holiday‘ is a romance between a woman who is Jewish, while ‘Holiday Date’ features a Jewish guy pretending to be ‘Mr. Christmas.’”
Speaking on THR’s TV podcast, Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks (Hallmark’s parent company), said that the allegation that Hallmark has no diversity is unfair.
“I think that generalization isn’t fair either, that we just have Christmas with white leads,” Abbott said. “In terms of broadening out the demographic, it’s something we’re always thinking about, always considering and we’ll continue to make the movies where the best scripts are delivered to us and what we think have the most potential.”