Hallmark Reverses Decision To Ban Ads Featuring Lesbian Couple

After an online backlash, The Hallmark Channel has reversed its decision to ban ads featuring a lesbian couple.

The Hallmark Channel has reversed its decision to pull ads by wedding planning website Zola that included a lesbian couple after receiving a complaint from a far-right women’s organization:

Hallmark apologized on Sunday after facing days of backlash for pulling four television ads that featured brides kissing each other.

In a statement, Mike Perry, the president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards, said the team at Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, had “been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused” and that “they believe this was the wrong decision.”

“Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives,” he said. “Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Hallmark said in the statement that it would work with GLAAD, a national L.G.B.T.Q. media advocacy organization, “to better represent the L.G.B.T.Q. community across our portfolio of brands,” and that it planned on contacting Zola to “re-establish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

Zola, a wedding website service, had a series of six commercials for the Hallmark Channel. First appearing on TV on Dec. 2, most of the ads feature a same-sex female couple along with heterosexual couples. One of the six ads focuses on only the lesbian couple. The channel pulled four of the ads after a targeted campaign by a conservative group.

“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,” Mike Chi, the chief marketing officer of Zola, said on Sunday night. “We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the L.G.B.T.Q. couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of GLAAD, said: “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to L.G.B.T.Q. people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine. L.G.B.T.Q. people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming, and that will never change.”

Hallmark said it “is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion — both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create,” and noted that the company had L.G.B.T.Q. greeting cards and had featured L.G.B.T.Q. couples in commercials.

“We have been a progressive pioneer on television for decades — telling wide ranging stories that elevate the human spirit,” the company said.

Here’s the statement from Hallmark:

One Million Moms, predictably, is calling for a resumption of its boycott:

The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family friendly movies. Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.

After removing a controversial ad featuring two lesbians kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony, Hallmark has again reversed course — and apologized for offending the homosexual community. One Million Moms, a division of the American Family Association, is now calling for a boycott of the channel.

It is the belief of 1MM that same-sex relationships are still extremely controversial and it should be left to parents to bring up the subject with children. It is clear that Hallmark is no longer family friendly, and parents will need to exercise caution before heading to the channel.

After the Hallmark Channel aired the commercial from Zola.com, 1MM voiced its concern and gave Hallmark the opportunity to do the right thing. On Friday, Crown Media Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott told 1MM that Hallmark Channel pulled the Zola.com commercial. He stated the advertisement aired in error, but he was informed about it after hearing from concerned 1MM supporters.

After subsequent backlash from the gay community, the Hallmark Channel caved. Reversing what it called a “wrong decision,” a Hallmark statement on Sunday said the channel will reinstate commercials featuring same-sex relationships.

The network said it would be “reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.” The statement also said, “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 as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts for this purpose is not who we are. As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Conservative viewers will be disappointed to learn that Hallmark intends to not only air commercials with LGBTQ content but is open to producing LGBTQ movies in the future.

So many people feel betrayed because this is one of the very last channels that families could go to and not be bombarded with politically correct commercials and LGBTQ agenda.

Family entertainment is not the outlet in which to be politically correct by forcing tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality – a sinful lifestyle that Scripture clearly deems as wrong. You can read so in Romans 1:18-32.

1MM has been called a hate group when speaking the truth, but the truth is anything but hateful.

The culture war, better yet the war for the soul of man, is definitely heating up. 1MM will keep fighting because souls are at stake. This LGBTQ spirit is the same spirit we read about in the Bible that confronted Lot. It’s relentless but the good news is we serve the God who is King of kings, Lord of lords, and will not be mocked. Hallmark, Zola, etc. and all that make up those companies will ALL bow to the Lord.

One Million Moms is asking once again for Hallmark to stay true to its family friendly roots that so many families have grown to love, and to keep sex and sexual content – including the promotion of homosexuality – out of its programming.

The reversal of the decision came after an online backlash, epitomized by calls to boycott not just the Hallmark Channel but also its parent company, began to circulate online. It quickly became apparent that the company had offended a significant portion of the population, and most likely its target demographic, additionally there were reports that it was receiving complaints from people involved in the production of its Christmas-related and other productions. No doubt, at some point they realized that the group of people opposed to the decision to pull the ads far outnumbered those allegedly offended by them. Finally, the company was receiving a significant amount of negative coverage over on news channels over the weekend. While not a publicly-traded company, Hallmark has in recent years sought to widen its customer base, including product lines that cater directly to members of the LGBT community. Thus, the reversal is far from surprising and it was wise of the company to limit the damage as mus as possible.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. 95 South says:

    caves to pressure?

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  2. mattbernius says:

    @95 South:

    caves to pressure?

    Sure that’s a fair interpretation. Of course, for consistency I’m sure you’ll also agree that that all of this was kicked off by the channel “caving to pressure” from the “Million” Moms.

    What Hallmark discovered was that there was significantly *more* pressure from a bigger and more powerful group of producers and consumers!

    Capitalism at work! Praise Adam Smith, it’s a holiday… opps I’d hate to trigger anyone — christmahanakwanzika miracle!

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  3. Kathy says:

    @mattbernius:

    Of course, for consistency I’m sure you’ll also agree that that all of this was kicked off by the channel “caving to pressure” from the “Million” Moms.

    Hear, hear!

    christmahanakwanzika

    You left out Saturnalia. You left out the Feast of Sol Invictus. You left out Robonukah (the robot Devil will get you). And you left out Festivus. No soup for you!

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  4. DrDaveT says:

    Hallmark said in the statement that it would work with GLAAD, a national L.G.B.T.Q. media advocacy organization, “to better represent the L.G.B.T.Q. community across our portfolio of brands,” and that it planned on contacting Zola to “re-establish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

    I’m pleasantly surprised by this — it goes well beyond the pro forma “I’m sorry anyone was offended, we don’t want to be controversial, I want this to be over” sort of retraction I was expecting. Good for you, Hallmark.

    Note also — Hallmark is a private, family-owned company. There’s no shareholder pressure here, nor any ability to pass the buck and blame either action on fiduciary responsibilities. It’s the Hall family’s call, and they owned it — both ways.

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  5. EddieInCA says:

    This is not surprising. I called in in the previous thread. They’re going to go overboard to accommodate the LGBTQ community. Why? Because if LGBTQ people are 5%-10% of the population, they’re insignificant. BUT each of those LGBTQ people have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, grandparents, and co-workers who don’t like the idea of discrimination. That becomes a big number.

    If two women kissing gets you upset in 2020, perhaps you just shouldn’t ever leave your house OR watch television.

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  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’d just like to take a moment to marvel at the weirdness of Hallmark’s corporate structure where the TV network’s sign that it really screwed up is when the guy in charge of the greeting cards has to come in on Sunday to clean up their mess.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What did I say? Oh yeah:

    Hallmark pulling a Chick-fill-a in 3…. 2…. 1….

    Nailed it.

    Hey, so what if I blow my own horn on this, even when I’m right, I’m rarely this right. As Eddie in CA so eloquently put it up above:

    Because if LGBTQ people are 5%-10% of the population, they’re insignificant. BUT each of those LGBTQ people have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, grandparents, and co-workers who don’t like the idea of discrimination. That becomes a big number.

    Exactly. I have LGBTQ friends and relatives. It matters a lot to me.

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  8. James Knauer says:

    Social media will eat you alive, if you’re not careful. Busy-bodies beware! Many edges to the internet sword! It’s refreshing to see an early attempt like this fail so quickly and so resoundingly as the election year approaches. People have really had it with this nonsense. All it does is rip open old wounds.

    For everyone.

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  9. al Ameda says:

    I know, my kids know, my friends know – lesbian couples, and some of those couples are married, and some are in long-term partnerships. Whatever. I do not understand the opposition to acknowledging, accepting, and serving these people. How does it negatively affect my life, my marriage, my relationships with friends and colleagues? Very Short Answer: it does not.

    I’ve got to say, maybe I live in a bubble out here on the elite-infested-libtard West Coast, but on this I’m glad that I do.

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  10. sam says:
  11. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hallmark and Chick Fil-A have managed to make everyone mad. Except those of us who don’t watch their movies or buy their over priced cards.
    They tend to run the same movies every season. Some aren’t bad.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    Ha, suck it, bigots! We’re shoving tolerance down your throats!

    We shall then make bigot foie gras from your tolerance-fattened livers!

  13. MarkedMan says:

    The sheer ridiculousness of a Trumper trying to pretend they occupy the moral high ground. Degenerates, the lot of them.

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  14. inhumans99 says:

    @Kathy:

    The Futurama Christmas episodes were awesome. They had a Santa Claus that no one in their right mind would want to have come down their chimney.

  15. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Jinky Moses, that was insanely over the top! I loved it.

    “tolerance fattened livers” – comment of the year. 10 out of 10. Five stars. Strongly recommend.

    That was so hardcore!

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Funny that they would quote from Romans 1:18-32, which states…

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    For a quote supposedly condemning homosexuality, the above characteristics apply to a lot of heterosexual individuals, including some evangelicals, as well as other people throughout human history…these self-righteous hypocrites don’t have planks in their eyes, but rather, whole forests…

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  17. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I will never be able to eat foie gras again without thinking of you.

    Tolerance fattened livers. Fuck me, I’m so dying.

    Literally lol.

  18. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    The Futurama Christmas episodes were awesome. They had a Santa Claus that no one in their right mind would want to have come down their chimney.

    “Your mistletoe is no match for my TOW missile!”

    Indeed.

    Still, they milked that character for all it was worth, and they did a pretty good job of it.

  19. 95 South says:

    @An Interested Party:

    That’s Romans 1:28-32, not 1:18-32. You left out the first ten verses, which go as follows:

    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

  20. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    That’s Romans 1:28-32, not 1:18-32. You left out the first ten verses, which go as follows […]

    Correct.

    Of course, all of this is just the lead-up to the main points in chapters 2 and 3, which are that nobody is righteous, nobody is any more righteous than anyone else, nobody is obedient to the law and if they were it wouldn’t be enough, justification and salvation are purely by faith.

    Indeed, chapter 2 opens with:

    1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

    Seems to me that Paul makes it very clear in that passage how God feels about people condemning and harassing homosexuals for being sinful…

  21. 95 South says:

    @DrDaveT: I’m not condemning anyone for their sins, and I’m also not going to pretend that sins are ok. I only posted that because An Interested Party dropped the portion about homosexual activity.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    How about lying? Republicans used to think that was a sin. Now, 15,000 Trump lies later and you’re all lying to protect the Liar in Chief.

    Republicans have abandoned all morality. If Trump murdered a child on the White House steps you people would excuse it. Cults have no morality but absolute loyalty to the cult leader.

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  23. 95 South says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Who’s talking about Trump or Republicans?

  24. 95 South says:

    @95 South: That’s the sign of a cult member or any other fanatic. You can only think about one thing.

  25. al Ameda says:

    @95 South:

    Who’s talking about Trump or Republicans?
    That’s the sign of a cult member or any other fanatic. You can only think about one thing.

    Seems to me that that, Trump or Republicans, is two things.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    I only posted that because An Interested Party dropped the portion about homosexual activity.

    There was no need to include that portion, as the homophobes who use religion to justify their bigotry are probably very familiar with that portion…funny how they never bring up the other parts which paint them as total hypocrites…

    You can only think about one thing.

    Not really, considering that the evangelicals who try to use this as a weapon to beat up people they don’t like are the most loyal and fanatical part of Trump’s base, further illustrating their sanctimonious bullshit…one of the best things about Buttigieg is that, as a religious person himself, he easily points out this discrepancy in other so-called “Christians”…

  27. 95 South says:

    @al Ameda: You think Mike can tell the difference? You think if you showed him a gun, $1 billion, and an outline of Alabama he could tell you the difference? He’s too far gone. It’s all Trump to him.

  28. 95 South says:

    @An Interested Party: I was hoping it was an accident. If you cited a passage which included verses about homosexual activity, edited them out on purpose, and said it only “supposedly” condemned homosexual activity, that’s essentially lying. I wonder if Mike will criticize you for it.

  29. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    If you cited a passage which included verses about homosexual activity, edited them out on purpose, and said it only “supposedly” condemned homosexual activity, that’s essentially lying.

    But if you cite a passage that condemns homosexuality, but leave off the immediately following passage that says “…but don’t think you have any standing to criticize others for their sins, whatever they are”, that’s not essentially lying?

  30. 95 South says:

    @DrDaveT: I didn’t falsely identify any passages. We can debate the meaning of the passage in context, but the first thing we have to do is identify the passage honestly.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    @95 South: I was making a connection between a direct quote and link from what Doug posted…

    Family entertainment is not the outlet in which to be politically correct by forcing tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality – a sinful lifestyle that Scripture clearly deems as wrong. You can read so in Romans 1:18-32.

    They already condemned homosexuality…I was adding on to what they didn’t mention, so I didn’t lie about anything…as for using the word “supposed”, that was in connection to what they didn’t mention…if they want to use that passage to condemn homosexuality they need to use the rest of the passage which condemns many of them…

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  32. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    We can debate the meaning of the passage in context, but the first thing we have to do is identify the passage honestly.

    I would suggest that the context (in Romans) is part of the ‘honestly’.

    That said, you might not have noticed that this whole discussion was partly in response to things posted by commenters in the other thread about the Hallmark incident. Without that context, some of the responses to your comments surely would seem a bit random.

  33. de stijl says:

    Bending “God’s word” to meet your own earthly desires is the epitome of pride.

    Pride is a sin.@95 South: