How Hallmark Plans to Move Forward From Upset Over Same-Sex Couple Ad
After receiving a barrage of backlash from people over the removal of a wedding planning add featuring a same-sex couple, Hallmark walked its decision back and expressed their desire to air the commercials again.
The Hallmark Channel had removed the Zola ad, which features two women getting married, after it received pressure from a conservative advocacy group called One Million Moms. So the company decided to pull the "distracting" content from air.
"The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," said a statement provided by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.
But the move was met with swift disapproval on social media. Ellen DeGeneres, who married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008, tweeted, "Isn't it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We're all ears."
Following the backlash, Hallmark apologized, saying its parent company felt it wasn't the right move.
"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused," Hallmark CEO Mike Perry said in a statement. "Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision."
The company said that it will also do better to represent the LBGTQ community in the future, specifically by working with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives,” the statement continued. “Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
Zola had given Hallmark six ads, four of which featured same-sex couples. Hallmark decided to only air the two others. That's when Zola pulled all its content from the network, before Hallmark made the reversal.
"We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed," Zola chief marketing officer Mike Chi said in a statement.
Zola said they will be in touch with Hallmark about the "potential return to advertising."
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