Hallmark Channel reinstates brides kissing commercial after conservative group complaint backlash and Zola saying it would no longer place ads with the media outlet.
It seems conservatives have been outflanked. The Hallmark Channel announced over the weekend that it will reinstate same-sex marriage commercials that it pulled from the network, according to a company statement.
An ad for wedding planning site Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altar was pulled following a complaint from the conservative group, ‘One Million Moms’. A Hallmark spokesperson previously told AP that the network pulled the ad because the controversy was creating a distraction.
‘The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision,’ Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry said in the statement on Sunday. ‘We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.’
In one of the pulled ads, two brides stand at the altar and wonder aloud whether their wedding would be going more smoothly if they had used a wedding planning site like Zola. The ad ends with the just-married couple sharing a kiss (see below).
This is the lovely ad that @HallmarkChannel pulled from their broadcast after conservatives complained. A simple kiss by lesbian newlyweds. Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for four years. LGBTQ families are beautiful.#BoycottHallmark pic.twitter.com/4UFDiebBVi
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) December 14, 2019
A fight between two polar opposite cultural groups forces Hallmark’s hand:
The decision to reinstate the ‘offensive’ ad follows Hallmark facing open outcry following its decision to bend to the will over conservative group mandates.
The hashtag #BoycottHallmark had been trending on Twitter, along with celebrities, Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner assailing the company’s decision. ‘Put the commercials back!’ Shatner wrote. DeGeneres asked: ‘Isn’t it almost 2020?’
The LGBT advocacy group GLAAD called the initial decision to remove the Zola ads ‘discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.’ The group said it would be asking other Hallmark advertisers where they stand on the issue, and if they will pull their advertising.
— James Martinez (@jamesdmartinez) December 14, 2019
One Million Moms.
At least 200,000 of them kissed another girl in college.
— Chloe *6’1 * FYourDiet.com* Hilliard (@Chloe_Hilliard) December 15, 2019
Safe and friendly network?
Zola said after the commercial was pulled that it wouldn’t advertise on the channel. It wasn’t clear if the company’s decision has changed since Hallmark announced it will reinstate the ads.
The conservative group One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, had complained about the ads personally to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company.
A post on the group’s website said that Abbott ‘reported the advertisement aired in error.’ The group also wrote: ‘The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.’
Zola had submitted six ads, and four included a lesbian couple. After Hallmark pulled those ads, but not two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola pulled its remaining ads, the company said.
‘The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,’ said Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer, in a statement sent to the AP. ‘All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.’
Realizing it had put itself in the middle of a PR crises, Hallmark put out a statement, with the network pledging that it would be ‘working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community’ and will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish its partnership and reinstate the commercials.
‘Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences,’ Perry said.
Which is backhand speak for ‘we value our profits and dollars more than our cultural or ideological points of views.’