(NEWSWEEK) An evangelical website has allegedly faked an online petition against a hypothetical gay Hallmark Christmas movie.
Out reported Friday that evangelical website LifeSiteNews started a petition asking the Hallmark Channel not to produce a potential "gay Christmas movie." Though LifeSiteNews claims "viral" numbers of 30,000 signatures, Out claims the numbers have likely been artificially inflated after adding its own conspicuously fake names to the list.
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Controversy and outrage erupted in conservative circles after a November 15 interview with Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbot for The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast. Abbot stated that he would be "open" to the idea of a gay-themed Christmas movie, although the channel has yet to produce one and has no immediate plans to do so. The channel is said to be releasing over three dozen Christmas-themed films this year, none with gay major characters.