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The Hallmark Channel is making a vow to increase LGBTQ visibility in its programming.
Days after announcing part of its 2020 holiday movie lineup, the network responded to criticism that none of the films appeared to feature 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 told PEOPLE in a statement. “We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome."
Hallmark came under fire last year after pulling several commercials for wedding planning website Zola that featured same-sex couples sharing a kiss at the altar. The ads were pulled after One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association, published a petition — although the network went on to walk back the decision.
“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO, Hallmark Cards, Inc., in a statement to PEOPLE in December.
“Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” the statement continued.
The company apologized for pulling the commercials of the same-sex couples, announcing that Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.”
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