On February 24th, the Hallmark Drama channel aired the 28th Annual Movieguide Awards. Movieguide is a faith-based organization which, according to its mission statement, seeks to “to redeem the values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists.” They accomplish by providing reliable, family-friendly film reviews and criticism throughout the year, and of course by issuing their nominees and awards each year.
The categories in which films are nominated for awards include “Best Movies for Families” and “Best Movies for Mature Audiences,” as well as in special award categories: for example, the “Epiphany Prize® For Inspiring Movies [and Television]” and the “Faith & Freedom Award®” for both movies and TV.
One of the films nominated this year, in multiple categories, was Unplanned, the history-making success from God is Not Dead creators Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon. The film has been the most successful pro-life film ever, telling the true story of former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson coming to realize the horrible truth about abortion.
If you watched the Hallmark Drama channel’s presentation of the award show, though, you would not know that Unplanned was nominated at all: much less that the cast and crew were acknowledged on stage at one point during the evening!
The star of the film, Ashley Bratcher, brought this to light on Twitter:
Bratcher’s tweet contains video of her speaking on stage with the directors of the film in the background, but this video was shot by someone in the room—Hallmark didn’t air it.
Bratcher explains in further tweets: “If you watch the televised show it’s like we don’t exist despite our 3 nominations and time on stage. […] All mentions of the film were pulled from Hallmark’s televised show, even in just the announcement of nominees.”
This isn’t the first time Hallmark seems to have caved to pressured from the left and anti-family forces in its programming and content decisions. Last year, the network caused controversy with an advertisement featuring a lesbian “wedding.” After an uproar from its (mainly Christian) viewership, Hallmark decided to pull the ad from the air; but then they reversed that decision and reinstated the ad after another wave of protests from LGBT groups.
Given this history, and the shocking news about Hallmarks decision to hide a pro-life film from its viewership at the recent Movieguide Awards, family advocates may well wonder whether how long they can count on Hallmark networks remaining the family-friendly haven on the airwaves that they have traditionally been.
iFamNews has published a petition calling on the network to publicly apologize to the film creators and to its viewership for this betrayal. You can sign the petition here.