In a series of tweets on Sunday, the 37-year-old actress claimed that she was "let go" from a job with the network after her contract demands for inclusivity were not met. Burton's tweets were posted after Hallmark came under fire for pulling an ad featuring a same-sex couple kissing at their wedding, after pressure from conservative group One Million Moms. The network has since apologized and reinstated the commercial.
"Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was 'let go' from back in January," she began. "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," Burton continued. "Sh**ty 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."
Requests were honored, I was told “take it or leave it”. I left it. And the paycheck. Shitty 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. But?
Despite all the positive aspects of the job, Burton said she'd "walk away again in a heartbeat."
"The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there," she wrote of Hallmark, before celebrating Lifetime, a competing network on which Burton has starred in multiple Christmas movies.
"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," she wrote.
Burton went on to acknowledge the privilege she has in being able to turn down the job on principle, largely crediting her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for that ability.
"Key point here: I have a wonderful husband @JDMorgan who works his a** off so I have the luxury to choose morals over paying bills," she wrote. "Not everyone has that! Nor should we be forced to be dependent. If I had to cover our mortgage and was told 'take it or leave it,' I’d be f**ked."
Key point here: I have a wonderful husband @JDMorgan who works his ass off so I have the luxury to choose morals over paying bills. Not everyone has that! Nor should we be forced to be dependent. If I had to cover our mortgage and was told “take it or leave it”, I’d be fucked.
Back in October, Burton gushed over working with Lifetime to ET's Katie Krause, praising the network as being "progressive and inclusive."
"In that genre, there hasn't been a lot of diversity, and there hasn't been a lot of inclusion, and Lifetime has been really wonderful about breaking a lot of those barriers," she said. "They're being really progressive about the storylines that we're doing and in our movie, in particular, I was clear that there had to be representation for the LGBTQ community and they said 'yes, absolutely, of course, whatever you want.' ... It's not a plot point in the movie, it's just a fact of life. I respect how progressive and inclusive Lifetime is."
As for Hallmark's ad controversy, after outcry from celebs including Ellen DeGeneres and Antoni Porowski the network reversed its decision to pull the ads, which they initially said they did because the women's "public displays of affection" violated company policy. However, nearly identical ads featuring a bride and groom exchanging a kiss did not get 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 on Sunday. "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."
Mike Chi, Zola's Chief Marketing Officer, reacted to Hallmark's updated decision in a statement to ET.
"We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed," Chi said. "We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day."