Fans of blockbuster queer ice skating anime Yuri on Ice were enraged this week because they believed an upcoming Hallmark movie, Love on Ice, copied the anime’s premise and name. On Twitter, fans called Love on Ice a “whitewashed” and “homophobic” Yuri on Ice rip-off.
A Hallmark representative told Kotaku nobody on the movie’s team had ever heard of the anime.
Love on Ice is an upcoming Hallmark movie about a female skater who falls in love with her male coach. Its description reads, “Former figure skating champion. . . gets an improbable shot to reclaim skating glory when a young coach sees greatness in her. Together, they find their love of skating goes far beyond the ice.” Its IMBD page has existed since August, 2015. The novel it’s based off was published in 2009.
Yuri on Ice, centered on a disgraced male skater’s intimate relationship with his male coach, started streaming in the West early October. “Love on Ice” is also apparently an adult romance series about a gay hockey player finding love.
And yet, a January 2nd Change.org petition demanding that the Hallmark Channel take down Love on Ice garnered over 3,600 signatures in just two days. “It is obvious that Hallmark is making a movie very similar to the hit anime, ‘Yuri On Ice’ created by Mitsurō Kubo,” the petition reads. Thousands of outraged tweets accused Hallmark of copying Yuri on Ice, with several hundred describing it as a white, heterosexual mutant clone.
In a tweet, Kubo asked her fans to calm the fuck down:
「Love on ice」という海外のドラマ、ユーリと完全に別作品だと私は思うし、面白そうなので期待しています！ドラマでも何でもフィギュアスケート作品は作るのが大変だと思うので、めちゃくちゃ応援したいです！
— 久保ミツロウ (@kubo_3260) January 3, 2017
Last night, after Kubo tweeted about the show, the petition’s author told Kotaku that she no longer believes Love on Ice is a rip-off: “With more evidence I received, I don’t believe that, no,” she said over Instagram.