Hallmark Channel apologizes for pulling ads featuring same-sex weddings

The Hallmark Channel is reversing its decision to pull advertisements featuring same-sex couples and apologizing for removing them in the first place, a netw...

Posted: Dec 16, 2019 8:33 AM

The Hallmark Channel is reversing its decision to pull advertisements featuring same-sex couples and apologizing for removing them in the first place, a network spokeswoman told CNN Business.

The decision comes after Hallmark parent company Crown Media Family Networks faced calls for viewers and advertisers to boycott its television channel. The ads, from online wedding planning company Zola, showed same-sex couples celebrating marriages.

Hallmark president and CEO Mike Perry said Sunday that the company made the "wrong decision" and wants to reinstate the commercials.

"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," Perry said in a statement provided to CNN Business.

"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," he said. "As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."

Zola said earlier that the ads pulled were among several similar commercials slated to run on Hallmark and that "the only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved" is that the flagged ads included a lesbian couple kissing. The company said a commercial featuring a heterosexual couple kissing was approved.

One of the ads in question features a lesbian couple at the altar on their wedding day discussing whether they should have used Zola to share details of their ceremony and registry with their guests.

Hallmark removed the ads after conservative group One Million Moms created a targeted campaign calling on the network to remove the ads and ban other content showing same-sex couples.

In its original statement, Hallmark said it pulled the ads because the "debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value."

Now, though, CEO Perry says that Hallmark will reach out to Zola to "reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials." It will also work with the advocacy organization GLAAD to "better represent" the LGBTQ community across its brands.

Zola said late Sunday that it will be in touch with Hallmark " regarding a potential return to advertising."

"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 told CNN Business. Before Hallmark's reversal, the company removed the rest of its ads from the channel.

Hallmark faced backlash from hundreds of users on social media over its initial decision to pull the commercials.

"@Hallmarkchannel has bowed to anti-family activists who seek to erase our community," LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said on Twitter. "For a channel whose brand is love, Hallmark is leading with fear and discrimination."

Many called on viewers to stop watching the Hallmark Channel, which is in the thick of holiday movie season. Some other TV and streaming brands even jumped into the conversation on Twitter to let viewers know they have other options.

Freeform, a cable channel owned by Disney, tweeted, "This is what happens when you focus all your energy on exclusion instead of clever plotlines. Call us, @Zola. We celebrate the holidays with everyone."

Netflix also tweeted a not-so-subtle comment on the controversy, listing a few titles in its library that feature, "Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It's Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love."

Some also called for people to stop buying products owned by Hallmark, such as greeting cards and Crayola crayons.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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