Hallmark to release 40 new Christmas films with zero LGBT lead roles
One of the Hallmark Christmas movies for 2020 ‘Christmas Town’. (Hallmark)
Hallmark is releasing 40, yes 40, Christmas movies for this year’s holiday season, and not a single one features an LGBT+ character in a leading role.
While Hallmark is happy to tell the “boy meets girl, girl dislikes boy, boy wins her over with Christmas spirit” story 40 times over, it could not find the time to bring one LGBT+ made-for-TV movie script to fruition.
And it’s not that no one has pitched LGBT+ scripts. Executives at Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media told The Wrap that they were aware of the lack of representation, and the executive vice president added: “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.”
A lack of representation on screen is unfortunately nothing new, and Hallmark is not the only company famous for its holiday movies that it severely lacking in the LGBT+ character department.
Its 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.”
The “great strides” White is referring to are that the majority of Lifetime’s offerings this year feature at least one non-white main character, and four films feature LGBT+ supporting characters.
Of the holiday movies released by Netflix this year, Let it Snow was the single film that featured an LGBT+ couple.
A Twitter thread went viral earlier this month, revealing that the 2004 Canadian film Too Cool For Christmas which featured two gay dads was also made as an almost identical film but with straight parents for US audiences.
In the American release of the film, the lead character Lindsay’s parents are played by Barclay Hope and Ingrid Torrance. The Canadian release features Barclay Hope and Adam Harrington.
Today, the American version is available through Hulu and the Canadian version through Prime, so one Twitter user made a video of the films playing side-by-side.
Fascinating. And since one version is on Hulu and the other on Prime you can open two windows and play both at the same time. I know because I just did… https://t.co/sLcukrqULA pic.twitter.com/bHLFdfdQje
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) November 11, 2020
The bizarre video shows that the films are virtually identical. The script is the same, the lighting is the same, the shots are the same – the only thing that’s different is the gender of one of the parents.
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