The Good Witch series finale aired and it featured Hallmark’s first TV LGBTQ+ kiss.
The beloved show, which ran for seven seasons, came to end on Sunday evening (25 July) and featured the Good Witch gang tying up loose ends.
But one scene that has viewers talking is the romantic kiss between fan favourite characters, Zoey and Joy.
This is the first time a Hallmark television series has featured an LGBTQ+ kiss.
Over the course of the season, fans have been clamoring for more content featuring the two characters, who fans have shipped as #Joey.
Kyana Teresa, who plays Zoey, took to Instagram to gush about the LGBTQ+ inclusive moment.
“If you’re not making history, you’re not doing it right.Thank you to everyone to helped this story become a reality and to everyone who rallied for it until the very end and beyond. It means more to me than you’ll ever know,” she wrote.
The epic kiss between Joy and Zoey joins a growing list of LGBTQ+ moments and characters on the traditionally conservative channel.
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Last year, Hallmark premiered its first ever LGBTQ+ inclusive holiday film, The Christmas House.
The movie, which featured Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett, was part of a new initiative from the long-running network to be more diverse and to represent non-traditional families.
Michelle Vicary, EVP, Programming, opened up the the rise in inclusivity in a statement: “Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever. This year’s movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, narratives, and families, including The Christmas House featuring a storyline about a gay couple looking to adopt their first child, and starring Jonathan Bennett in an ensemble cast.
“Our movies are rooted in warmth and positivity, meaningful connections, family gatherings, and seasonal traditions—a winning formula we hope will bring millions of viewers much-needed levity and holiday cheer at the end of a tough year.”
Although the initiative has been welcomed by many of its viewers, the channel has faced backlash for its growing LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
Last year, One Million Moms, a conservative anti-LGBTQ organisation, said the network was promoting the “LGBT agenda” after a commercial aired featuring a lesbian couple.
The complaints prompted the channel to pull the advert off the air.
Shortly after its removal, Hallmark faced widespread backlash from celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, William Shatner and Sandra Bernhard and was mocked on an episode on SNL. #BoycottHallmarkChannel was also a trending topic on Twitter.
In a statement Mike Perry – president and chief executive officer of Hallmark – said, “The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. They believe this was the wrong decision.”
He added: “Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”
Check out what Good Witch fans had to say about the #JOEY kiss.
— Good Witch Posts (@GoodWitchPosts) July 26, 2021
✨ joy and zoey ✨ pic.twitter.com/GTZr2ygE3o
— Jordy 🌱 (@deenasfier) June 22, 2021
True loves kiss!
— ✨JoJo✨ #BringWynonnaHome (@HaughtBarrell) July 26, 2021
Thank you @KatBarrell @KyanaTeresa for portraying these characters so respectful and real. Will support you guys always. Wish you all the success, health and happiness in everything you do. #GoodWitch #goodies #GoodEarpers may you and your families stay blessed forever 🙏♥️ pic.twitter.com/W8JjoRx16R
— 🇹🇹⚘🍁Guy3🍁⚘🇨🇦 (@GayatriR1982) July 25, 2021
— Kyana Teresa (@KyanaTeresa) July 26, 2021
— Hallmark Channel (@hallmarkchannel) July 26, 2021