Hallmark Updates Code of Conduct Targeting Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Comments

Following petition by more than 60 signees, the channel now prohibits homophobic or otherwise objectionable content

The Holiday Sitter
"The Holiday Sitter" (Hallmark)

Hallmark Media has updated its code of conduct rules to target anti-LGBTQ+ hate comments, following petition by more than 60 signees.

Updated Dec. 16, the channel now prohibits the posting or transmitting of content or messaging that is homophobic or otherwise discriminatory on the basis of “gender identity and orientation or otherwise objectionable.” Previously, the website rules outlined a ban on comments that were false, vulgar or otherwise inciteful, in addition to speech deemed racist.

The petition, led by Hillary Kovacs and featuring TheWrap’s film critic Alonso Duralde, outlined that as Hallmark diversifies its programming, through the releases of queer rom-coms like the recent “The Holiday Sitter” with Jonathan Bennett, the network has a greater responsibility to ensure its brand is aligned with and safeguarding these stories and identities.

“We can clearly see that the network is doing work to address many of these comments when they arise, but the number of comments is significant and the non-specific comments are likely more difficult to address outright,” Kovacs wrote. “We as fans engage with these comments because we are aligned with the network’s stance that it should reflect the stories and identities of the community. As with the environment around previous releases, however, the efforts taken by fans to address these comments is taxing on the fans themselves and not our responsibility.”

Kovacs also requested that the network include the prohibition of “transphobic” content, which is currently not reflected on the page.

“This would be reflective of what the network has stated, but would move towards explicitly communicating the valuing of queer lives and experiences,” Kovacs continued in the initial note. “It would also confirm to all who engage with the social media pages that they cannot share content which reflects prejudice against queer folks.”