Hilarie Burton Claims She Left Hallmark Project After Requesting 'Diverse Casting'
Hilarie Burton is standing up for equality.
Following news that Hallmark Channel had pulled commercials featuring brides kissing after a “distracting” controversy, the actress shared her own story to Twitter, alleging that she had been “let go” from a job with the network after making a request for more “diverse casting.”
“Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was ‘let go’ from back in January,” recalled Burton, 37, on Sunday. “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.’ ”
“I left it. And the paycheck,” she said. “S—y being penalized for standing up for inclusivity. I really wanted that job. It was close to my house. It paid really well. It was about the military, which you all know I hold dear. But? Id walk away again in a heartbeat.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Burton has starred in multiple holidays films for Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. She said that at Hallmark, “The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there.”
“I’ve been loudly cheering for @lifetimetv all year because they heard my concerns + RALLIED! You want inclusive Christmas magic?! We got it. Love is love?️??? #receipts,” continued Burton, who stars in the networks’s film A Christmas Wish.
The actress noted that a “key point” in her argument is that she has the “luxury to choose morals over paying bills” and credited her husband, Walking Dead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for “work(ing) his ass off.”
“Not everyone has that! Nor should we be forced to be dependent,” Burton wrote. “If I had to cover our mortgage and was told ‘take it or leave it,’ I’d be f—d.”
A rep for Hallmark did not return PEOPLE’s request for comment on Burton’s allegations.
RELATED VIDEO: Let It Snow‘s Liv Hewson Feels “Lucky” to Portray a LGBTQ Character in a Netflix Holiday Film
Ads for the wedding planning website Zola first appeared on the Hallmark Channel on Dec. 2,according to The New York Times. The commercials showed same-sex female couples standing at the altar and wondering if their guests would have arrived on time and bought them better gifts had they used Zola.
One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association, published a petition urging Hallmark to no longer air the ads. In a statement to the Times on Friday, Crown Media Family Networks confirmed the decision to pull the ads, stating, “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.”
By Sunday evening, the company apologized for pulling the commercials, announcing that Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.”
Also, the company clarified, “Hallmark will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”