In The Know

Actress Hilarie Burton says she walked away from Hallmark job after ‘diverse casting’ requests were ignored

Getty Images

Actress Hilarie Burton says she walked away from a job for the Hallmark Channel earlier this year after executives ignored her requests for an “LGBTQ character, an interracial couple and diverse casting.”

Burton’s claims come after the network was embroiled in a scandal this month over first pulling and then reinstating commercials with a same-sex kiss.

Burton, who has appeared in several Hallmark Channel movies such as “Summer Villa” and “Naughty or Nice,” wrote in a Twitter thread Sunday that she was “let go” from a job back in January.

“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 wrote. “I left it. And the paycheck.”

The “One Tree Hill” and “White Collar” star wrote that it was “shitty being penalized for standing up for inclusivity,” especially when it was a paying job close to home that was about the military.

“I’d walk away again in a heartbeat,” Burton wrote. “The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there.”

Burton this year starred in “A Christmas Wish,” a movie with Hallmark’s rival network Lifetime. She wrote that Lifetime “heard my concerns + RALLIED!”

“You want inclusive Christmas magic?! We got it,” Burton wrote. “Love is love. #receipts.”

She also thanked her husband, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan of “The Walking Dead” and “The Good Wife,” for working hard “so I have the luxury to choose morals over paying bills.”

The Hill has reached out to Hallmark Channel for comment.

A company spokesperson told CBS News on Tuesday that Burton “was not an employee of Crown Media Family Networks,” Hallmark’s parent company. 

Burton’s remarks come days after the network was caught up in backlash for pulling four TV ads featuring a lesbian couple getting married and kissing after a petition from a conservative group calling to remove the spots gained more than 26,000 signatures.

The four ads from Zola that were pulled from the Hallmark Channel over the move were part of a larger ad campaign by the wedding planning company. They were later reinstated.

Hallmark Channel President and CEO Mike Perry said on Sunday that the team at Crown Media Family Networks has “been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused.”

“Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” he continued.

Tags Crown Media Family Networks hallmark channel Hallmark Channel Hilarie Burton Lifetime Zola
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video