This past weekend, there was a lot of controversy around the Hallmark Channel—right in the middle of the network’s jam-packed “Countdown to Christmas” season.
In case you missed it, here’s what went down. Zola, a wedding planning website, aired a number of ads on the channel including some that featured same-sex couples. The conservative group One Million Moms took issue with a particular ad featuring two brides (briefly) kissing and started a petition to have it removed. “The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family friendly movies. Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore,” the petition reads. “Recently, One Million Moms received concerns about Hallmark airing a commercial from Zola.com in which two lesbians are shown kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony. Similar concerns from regular viewers are posted on an online complaint board for the Hallmark Channel.”
Initially, Hallmark decided to pull four of the six ads from the Zola campaign. “The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories,” a Hallmark spokesman told the New York Times on Friday, December 13. However, one ad that featured a bride and groom kissing was not pulled.
The online backlash to this was swift.
Now, Hallmark reps have announced that the network is reversing the decision. “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” Hallmark CEO Mike Perry said in a statement. “Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.” He also said “Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”