Hallmark Channel is committed to being more inclusive with its upcoming content. Earlier this week, the network announced part of its original movie lineup for Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas. However, many began criticizing Hallmark for its lack of LGBTQ characters or themes.
"Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us and we look forward to making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors," a Hallmark Channel spokesperson said in a statement given to ET. "We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
At the time, only 18 of the 40 films were listed, with 22 still to be announced.
This isn't the first time the network has dealt with controversy. In December 2019, the network came under fire for pulling a Zola commercial that featured two women kissing on their wedding day. The network later apologized and reinstated the commercial.
Many celebs, including Ellen DeGeneres and Antoni Porowski, spoke out against Hallmark's decision to pull the ad when the news broke. The network eventually went on to reverse its decision, which it initially said it made because the women's "public displays of affection" in the commercial violated company policy. However, nearly identical ads featuring a bride and groom exchanging a kiss had not been pulled.
"Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple. The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused," Hallmark CEO Mike 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 for this purpose is not who we are. As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
"Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands," Perry added. "The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials."