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Hallmark Exec Points to 'Seismic' Shift in Adding LGBTQ Characters in Lead Roles

02-15-2021
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The president and CEO of Hallmark parent Crown Media Family Networks said the company wants to show its support for the LGBTQ community, vowing to make that clearer in the coming season.

During a virtual Q&A last Thursday, company head Wonya Lucas said the cable channel will expand its storylines to feature more LGBTQ characters, Deadline reports.

"I'm proud of the progress this team is making to expand diversity in our programming and it is nothing short of seismic," Lucas declared. "We will continue to strive to defy common stereotypes and give our characters more depth and dimension; in short, to more broadly represent the human condition. And what a difference a year makes. But believe me, we know there is so much more good work yet to be done."

Lucas highlighted the network's newest movie, "Mix up in the Mediterranean" whose lead character is gay.

Another Hallmark executive, Michelle Vicary said it's been a "big priority" for the company to focus on showing "different kinds of diversity."

"And I think looking forward in 2021, and as we look into the future for all of our services, you're going to continue to see that work being done," Vicary said. "And I think that in terms of our casting for our entire productions, whether they're leads or whether they are secondary leads, we will continue to make sure that people are represented authentically and in the proper way."

Hallmark, which used to be considered family-friendly, is known for its collection of heartwarming and sentimental movies. The channel made headlines in 2019 after it removed LGBTQ wedding ads from its platform.

Hallmark's leaders had initially decided to remove the Zola ads after the conservative activist group One Million Moms - which represents a sizable chunk of the network's target demographic - launched a petition denouncing the commercials as inappropriate for a family-friendly channel because of its "promotion of homosexuality."

But then the network faced an LGBTQ backlash, apologized, and promised to reinstate previously removed LGBTQ-friendly wedding advertisements. 

Lucas insists the network is moving forward with "a lot of representation in more authentic ways than we've ever done before."

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