The CEO of Hallmark Channel's parent company claimed fans will be seeing more LGBT characters in their future storylines as they will remain committed in their pro-LGBT stance, a report says.
Wonya Lucas, the president and CEO of Hallmark Channel's parent company Crown Media Family Networks, gave his remarks during the Winter Television Critics Association meeting and said that Hallmark Channel is "proud" of its progress on the issue, Christian Headlines reported.
Hallmark has long been pushing to include the LGBT community in their storylines. Back in 2019, Hallmark was involved in a controversy over a commercial that shows a kissing scene between a same-sex couple.
"All I can speak to is where we are today. And really just coming in six months ago and seeing the work that the team had already done and begun, it really did make me proud," Wonya Lucas said when asked about any fallout from the 2019 same-sex ad controversy.
"What I see, moving forward - and I can speak for myself - is that we're gonna continue to lean into that and you're gonna see more of that. And we welcome all the advertisers who have been supportive of us, and our team's been supportive, and our parent company is incredibly supportive. So this is who we are," Lucas continued.
Wonya Lucas's remarks on the controversy were first reported by Deadline.
The controversy received a lot of negative comments, including from One Million Moms, an organization of Christian moms and social conservatives.
"The once conservative network has recently caved to LGBTQ pressure and has done a one-eighty from the wholesome content the channel once aired, and the network is now catering to the Left," One Million Moms said in a statement last year. "So many people feel betrayed by Hallmark over these past seven months."
According to Christian Headlines, the Hallmark Channel will be debuting "Mix Up in the Mediterranean" this month, which was billed at the Television Critics Association meeting as the first-ever Hallmark movie with a gay lead actor.
The film revolves around the story of a single man whose twin brother, a famous city chef, is married to another man.
Michelle Vicary, Crown's executive vice president for programming, mentioned how "excited" she is about their upcoming "Mix Up in the Mediterranean" which includes their "first gay lead."
Wonya Lucas and Michelle Vicary said that their channel, is committed to showing racial, religious, and LGBT diversity in their storylines.
"Before I arrived, we had begun to expand our brand inclusiveness in front of and behind the camera," Lucas said. "I'm proud of the progress this team is making to expand diversity in our programming and it is nothing short of seismic."
"The significant achievements made in the D&I (diversity and inclusion) space in 2020 laid the groundwork for us to branch out in our storytelling to approach the complexity of what it means to love and be a family in a more authentic, varied, and inclusive way."
Lucas also added that their team 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 that he believes there is so much more "good work yet to be done."