Hilarie Burton Claims Hallmark Told Her To 'Take It Or Leave It' When They Refused Her Contract Request For Inclusivity
One Tree Hill alum Hilarie Burton is speaking out against the Hallmark Channel amid the controversy surrounding their decision to pull a Zola commercial that featured a lesbian couple getting married and sharing a kiss. Just hours after they announced that decision, the network apologized and said they had made a mistake. But, Burton revealed in a series of tweets that the network doesn’t embrace inclusivity.
Hallmark initially decided to pull the ad after the conservative group One Million Moms started circulating a petition against the channel featuring same sex couples in their programming and advertising. But, the backlash was so severe that they quickly changed their tune.
Hallmark CEO Mike Perry issued a statement that revealed the company had been “agonizing” over the decision because of the hurt it unintentionally caused. Ultimately, Perry said it was a wrong decision, and they will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community while reestablishing their partnership with Zola and reinstating their commercials.
However, Burton says that the channel gave her major push back in January when she insisted that they include an LGBTQ character, an interracial couple, and diverse casting during her contract negotiation to star in a Hallmark movie.
“Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was ‘let go’ from back in January,” tweeted Burton. “I had insisted on a LGBTQ character, an interracial couple and diverse casting. I was polite, direct and professional. But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my requests were honored, I was told ‘take it or leave it.’”
Burton went on to say that she left it, and the paycheck. And, it was terrible to be penalized for standing up for inclusivity. Burton said she really wanted that job because it was close to her house, it paid really well, and it was about the military, which she holds dear.
The 37-year-old actress says she would still walk away again in a heartbeat, and she added that the bigotry comes from the top at the channel and “permeates the whole deal over there.” Now, Burton says she has been loudly cheering for Lifetime because they heard her concerns and rallied.
“You want inclusive Christmas magic?!” asked Burton. “We got it. Love is love.”
Burton concluded by saying that she has a wonderful husband - The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan - who works hard, so she has the luxury to choose morals over paying bills. Unfortunately, not everyone has that. But, Burton says that no one should be forced to be dependent.
“If I had to cover our mortgage and was told ‘take it or leave it,’ I’d be f***ed,” wrote Hilarie Burton.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan replied to his wife’s series of tweets, writing, "One, I do love you in an elf costume. Two, and most importantly... @Hallmark and @hallmarkchannel ?? Gross. No other words needed. #loveislove"