Someone is counting the number of white people in Hallmark movies this year and they are not happy. Lesley Goldberg, TV Editor at the Hollywood Reporter seems to have taken exception to the fact that the majority of the leads in Hallmark are a bit too Christian and white. In an article entitled Hallmark Channel Struggles to Give Diversity a Home for the Holidays, Goldberg criticized Hallmark parent company exec Bill Abbott for not having films that “reflect society”.
Hallmark has 24-holiday movies this week and only four of them have black leads according to the piece. When questioned on this, Abbott said:
“I think that generalization isn’t fair either, that we just have Christmas with white leads. We are very proud of those movies and we think those movies really reflect an across-the-board approach to celebrating the holiday season,” Abbott told TV’s Top 5.
As to why Hallmark declined to use “Hanukkah” in either of those two titles, Abbott said Hallmark programming despite its decade of “Countdown to Christmas” branding is not focused on programming from a religious point of view.
“It’s hard if we start to slice up the pie, so to speak, and make movies based off of specific holidays. So, if we were to look at Kwanzaa, for example, or other religions and how they celebrate the holidays it’s a little bit more difficult because we don’t look at Christmas from a religious point of view, it’s more a seasonal celebration,” he said. “Once you start to slice it more finely within individual religions it’s a little bit tougher to necessarily tell that story in a way that doesn’t involve religion and we always want to stay clear of religion or controversy.”
Hollywood over the last couple of years has made a hard push for ‘diversity and inclusion‘ in their films and television shows. The focus has been pretty clear, fewer white leads and characters. As Goldberg points out “Typically, the push for inclusive programming starts with executives who put out a mandate that they’re looking for specific types of content — i.e. stories about non-white families, or shows with black leads.”
It looks like the progressive lobby has put their sights on the Hallmark Holiday Lineup.