Hallmark Channel Under Scrutiny For Not Being Inclusive Enough During The Christmas Season
The Hallmark Channel puts out numerous movies and series every year but apparently they are now being scrutinized this Christmas season for not being inclusive enough.
“The Hallmark Channel has now been scrutinized for having a lack of religious and racial diversity during its “Countdown to Christmas” programming.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the Hallmark Channel featured just four movies this year with black leads and virtually no other religious representation outside of Judaism and Christianity.
“Missing from Hallmark’s festive roster? Any other religion in the title,” the report later noted. “That’s especially interesting given that Hallmark last year announced that it would be producing two Hanukkah movies in 2019 — ‘Holiday Date’ (Dec. 14) and a ‘Double Holiday’ (Dec. 22). ‘Double Holiday‘ is a romance between a woman who is Jewish, while ‘Holiday Date’ features a Jewish guy pretending to be ‘Mr. Christmas.’”
“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. “[O]nce 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.”
Abbott also noted that Hallmark’s approach is less about religion and more about appealing to a broad base of viewers given that its holiday programming tends to skew younger and attract more family co-viewing.
“I think Christmas has become almost a secular type of holiday more than Hanukkah, which really does have more of a religious feel,” he said, calling his movie titles “subjective.” “I think Hanukkah, from a religious point of view, is not necessarily as commercial and not necessarily as much about gift-giving and it’s really about what those eight nights signify from the religious point of view. So I’m not ruling it out as something we would not do but this is kind of our first foray into this type of double holiday mix with a lot of Hanukkah in both movies [and] a lot of the celebration of how those nights are celebrated and experienced by those who practice the religion.”
Why should they be scrutinized at all? They should keep on doing whatever keeps them on the air and helps to spread the holiday cheer. If someone complains they can change the channel.
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