Mean Girls and The Christmas House star Jonathan Bennett clapped back at critics who disapproved of the Hallmark channel adding gay characters to their Christmas movies this year. Bennett is, of course, famous for playing high school hunk Aaron Samuels in the 2004 classic comedy Mean Girls, so he’s familiar with bullying and how exactly to shut bullies down.
In a recent interview with Metro Weekly, Bennett was asked if he had any thoughts on those anti-gay critics.
“To quote Theodore Roosevelt, ‘It’s not the critic who counts,’” he told the website.
“Who matters are the millions who are going to watch this movie and feel like they’re represented,” he added. “Who matters are the people who are allies and best friends of the LGBTQ+ community who have friends and sons and brothers and neighbors who are gay and queer and everything in between, who will watch this movie and feel like they see their friends and people they love represented in a movie.”
“Who matters are the young people that are going to watch this and are going to feel less scared and more seen this Christmas. That’s who matters,” he said.
Bennett reinforced that stance by telling a story about working on the film, explaining that while filming a scene where two men kiss, some of the crew thanked him.
“We were working with a crew that does dozens of Hallmark movies a year,” he said. “And when we were done with that scene, some of the crew who were gay came up to us with tears in their eyes, just bawling. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And they said, ‘Thank you. We’ve worked on dozens of these movies, and for the first time we feel represented. We feel seen, like we’re part of the family.'”
The Christmas House is now streaming on WatchHallmarkTV.com.