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Film and TV

Hallmark boss says company is ‘open’ to queer lead characters in Christmas movies, despite featuring none

Nick Duffy December 5, 2019
Hallmark LGBT characters Christmas

Hallmark could include LGBT+ people in future Christmas movies (Crown Media United States LLC/David Dolsen)

The CEO of Hallmark has said the company is “open” to LGBT+ representation, after attracting flack for featuring zero out characters.

The US TV channel, which is famous for its romantic comedy TV movies, has come under fire for somehow managing to be less queer than major Hollywood blockbusters.

There are zero LGBT+ leading characters across Hallmark’s 40 Christmas releases this year.

Hallmark ‘looking at pitches’ for LGBT+ movies.

The company’s CEO Bill Abbott was pressed on the issue in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV’s Top 5 podcast.

Asked if the company had thought about “incorporating stories about same-sex couples at Christmas”, Abbott responded: “We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship.”

The TV boss was also quizzed about the lack of racial diversity in its TV movie lineup.

Bill Abbott attends Hallmark Channel's Christmas At The Plaza screening on November 18, 2019 in New York City.
Bill Abbott attends Hallmark Channel’s Christmas At The Plaza screening on November 18, 2019 in New York City. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Hallmark Channel)

He said: “I think that generalisation isn’t fair either, that we just have Christmas with white leads.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Hallmark executive Michelle Vicary told The Wrap: “We are continuing to expand our diversity.

“We are looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies and we are looking to expand and represent the United States as a whole.”

TV Christmas movies are not making the yuletide gay.

Hallmark’s closest competitor Lifetime also released 30 movies this year, and none of those 30 have leading LGBT+ characters either.

Meghan Hooper White, senior vice president of original co-productions and acquisitions for Lifetime, told The Wrap: “As Lifetime has a diverse group of people working behind the scenes, we’re always looking at the environments we create with our holiday movies to ensure they are reflective of the world we live in.

“We want to see ourselves. While we are proud of the great strides we have made in having many inclusive and diverse storylines … we can always continue to expand.”

More: Christmas, hallmark, representation

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