Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Hallmark to rerun awards show after getting caught censoring 'Unplanned'



Hallmark has backtracked on its scrubbing of a speech by "Unplanned" actress Ashley Bratcher in its broadcast of the family friendly Movieguide Awards, announcing its Hallmark Drama channel will rebroadcast the event.

Bratcher was a nominee for her performance in the pro-life movie, which featured the story of a Planned Parenthood clinic director who quit after the traumatic experience of assisting in an abortion for the first time.

commentary at Washington Examiner writer Madeline Fry reported Bratcher revealed that all references to the film had been removed from Hallmark's broadcast of the Movieguide Awards, even though Unplanned was nominated for awards in three categories.

"This is completely UNACCEPTABLE," Bratcher tweeted on Sunday.

Fry, after contacting Hallmark on Monday, received a reply Wednesday afternoon from a spokeswoman who said the network was sorry and a new broadcast will air March 9 at 10 p.m.

"It will also be available on the TV Everywhere app," she said in an email. "All telecasts will include mentions of the film, 'Unplanned' and its lead actress, Ashley Bratcher. We at Crown Media extend our sincere apologies to Ms. Bratcher."

Fry wrote that since Hallmark "didn't try to explain away 'Unplanned's' glaring omission, it's pretty clear that the media company simply didn't want to wade into any controversy."

"But by censoring the pro-life movement, Hallmark did anyway. And it proved, unwittingly, that pro-life voices will not be silenced," she said.

'Up to each of us to decide'

Last July, the CEO of a large movie theater corporation in Canada doubled down on his decision to screen the controversial movie, declaring it's "up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to see it."

Ellis Jacob, CEO of Cineplex, said in an open letter it's important to remember that Canadian law allows just that.

"Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn't always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn't always make you popular," he wrote. "In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in."

An open letter from Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob, on our decision to screen Unplanned.

— Cineplex (@CineplexMovies) July 8, 2019

Jacob was responding to what Twitter news aggregator Twitchy described as a "bunch of screeching, angry, emotionally driven, insecure people" who have been threatening movie theaters in Canada to scare them out of showing "Unplanned."

LifesiteNews reported the movie effectively was being banned in Canada because the two largest distributors, Landmark and Cineplex, had no plans to show it.

Chuck Konzelman, the film's writer, director and producer, told LifeSite News via email that at least one of the two largest Canadian film distributors said "content" rather than a lack of consumer demand is the reason for banning the film.

But Cineplex reversed course. And although the number of screens is small, only about 14, Jacob confirmed the film was being shown.

A tweet of Jacob's letter drew the wrath of abortion advocates who insisted evoking free-speech is invalid because there are not "two sides" to abortion:

  • You missed the point, Cineplex. We, and yes I mean Canadian women, do not want America propaganda in Canada. Abortion is a medical procedure in Canada and NOT AN ISSUE THAT needs to be addressed. I will be spending my $'s elsewhere.
  • is not freedom of speech if the things being said impede on human rights. Women should have the rights to chose what happens to their bodies. This film is propaganda and you have chosen to partake and stand behind the message. This letter is a waste of your time and mine.
  • There are not two sides. This is an attack on women
  • You've opened the door to all types of requests for screenings of whatever, and if you refuse and are taken to court, *this* will be the precedent.
  • Everyone demanding freedom of speech in order to take away freedom from women and control our uterus. Women’s body parts still under threat from religious zealotry
  • Will you post a disclaimer stating that it's a work of fiction and should not be interpreted as being factually accurate or representative of the abortion issue?

True story

The movie tells the dramatic true story of a Planned Parenthood clinic manager, Abby Johnson, who quits and becomes a pro-life activist after assisting in an abortion.

When Johnson quit, she immediately went to see Shawn Carney, the president and CEO of 40 Days for Life. His organization stages prayer vigils outside abortion businesses around the world.

Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson

Carney told WND in an interview that he and Johnson had known each other for years, both having attended Texas A&M University. When she started working at Planned Parenthood, he started with 40 Days for Life.

He recalls the day that Johnson, "distraught, completely broken," walked into his office.

He said he was worried about her future after having turned her back on the abortion industry's biggest player.

Carney said that with the release of "Unplanned," participation in the prayer vigils has surged 30 percent.

"It's just been a wave of enthusiasm," he said. "People are actually going out and peacefully praying."

See the "Unplanned" trailer:

WND previously reported Google categorized the movie as "propaganda."

Who knew that “propaganda” was a movie genre? @Google once again exposing its gross political bias. @UnplannedMovie

— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@kelseybolar) April 11, 2019

Kelsey Bolar took a screenshot of Google's designation, "Drama/Propaganda," and posted it on Twitter.

"Who knew that 'propaganda' was a movie genre? @Google once again exposing its gross political bias," Bolar wrote.

A Twitter user noted Google "fixed" the propaganda label after 12 hours.

But a blogger for Twitchy said, "We're not really sure they 'fixed' anything … fixing it would also be an apology but we suppose this is a start.

Image courtesy 40 Days for Life

Image courtesy 40 Days for Life

WND reported "Unplanned" has succeeded despite considerable opposition. Over its opening weekend, for example, Twitter had an "error" that shut down the movie's account and deleted 50,000 followers.

The movie also was given an "R" rating despite no nudity or violence. And networks refused to sell time and space for advertising. A company even prevented the movie from using a piece of music because of the topic.

Actress Robia Scott talked about her role in the movie:

And Matthew West created a music video for "Unplanned":

Fox News reported Johnson now has a ministry called And Then There Were None that helps abortion workers get new jobs.


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