Whether it’s the attempt to eradicate any mention of it in the public square or to completely secularize it, Christmas has long been a target of the leftist “inclusivity” police.
Now, the Hallmark Channel, which has become a large part of the modern American Christmas tradition, is in their sights.
After an interview in which a lesbian grilled Hallmark’s parent company CEO over an apparently insufficient diversity, Hallmark is reportedly open to the idea of, among other things, homosexual lead characters.
In an interview last month on The Hollywood Reporter’s “TV’s Top 5” podcast, Bill Abbott, head of Crown Media Family Networks, sat down to discuss the channel’s massive Christmas movie lineup, the brand’s creative process, and, apparently, to be interrogated about his company’s excess of white, heterosexual main characters.
“I’m gay, where are the same-sex movies?” co-host Lesley Goldberg asked Abbott. “Have you talked about incorporating stories about same-sex couples at Christmas?”
“We’re always looking for the best stories that will resonate in the best way, so we’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship in any space,” Abbott tepidly responded.
Goldberg pressed on, complaining that the channel plays nonstop when she and her “wife” visit family on Christmas, but they “are not reflected on anything [Hallmark is] doing.”
“It would be really cool to broaden out and have our nieces see a version of us on TV,” Goldberg added, “or see a version of anything else besides Christmas with, you know, white leads.”
While Abbott responded that Hallmark is “always thinking about” broadening its demographics, he seemed to hint that the brand was not looking to sacrifice its mission to be “relentlessly positive, family friendly, [and] always appropriate for all members of the family” just to fulfill the “woke” programming quota.
“We are always encouraging people to bring us stories across the board,” Abbott explained. “And it’s not always that simple a process where you put the word out and you get back three great scripts and three great stories. We put the word out that we’re doing an original series and we get 50 bad stories. So it’s not as easy as I think you’re making it sound and it’s certainly something that we do discuss consistently with our team and with our talent and with the agencies.”
Goldberg and her co-host Daniel Feinberg also pushed Abbott on the issue of excluding other religions from its programming and exclusively focusing on Christmas, a Christian holiday.
Noting that the channel only offers two films this year that feature Hannukah and Jewish characters (but lack “Hannukah” in the title), Goldberg complained that Hallmark appeared to be “going backwards” against the ever-upward trend of “inclusion,” comparing the minor feature of Hannukah in two of their movies to the two shelves of Hannuka decorations “amid 17 aisles of Christmas stuff.”
However, Abbott explained that part of the channel’s success in making such unoffensive content is its exclusion of all religions, even Christianity. “We don’t look at Christmas from a religious point of view, it’s more a seasonal celebration,” he said, in a very insightful comment on much of the world’s way of celebrating Christmas these days. “I think Christmas has become almost a secular type of holiday.”
While it is annoying—to say the least—that the day celebrating our Savior’s birth has been shamelessly co-opted to sell low budget films along with all the other commercialization and whitewashing of the reason for the season, it’s a little amusing that leftists like Goldberg would look at Hallmark’s programming and think there’s anything explicitly Christian about it.
As for this year, it appears Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” is free of anything that would please the proponents of LGBT lifestyles and features only heterosexual lead characters, but the demand for artificially inflated diversity in the entertainment industry isn’t letting up any time soon.
I wonder if it’s ever occurred to folks like Goldberg that perhaps the fact that Hallmark films aren’t bursting with wokeness adds to their appeal.
Meanwhile, a lukewarm “maybe” is never an acceptable answer, and Abbott’s responses to the diversity interrogation aren’t quite satisfying to anyone—not us, and not Goldberg, who reported that Hallmark “struggles to give diversity a home for the holidays.”
Only time will tell if Hallmark will be the next big company to cave to leftist demands.
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