The Hallmark Channel apologized for removing the Zola.com ad which showed two brides kissing, and the ad was reinstated.
The ad’s initial removal was because of complaints from activists supporting conservative families. However, backlash from gay rights activists saw the channel reinstate the ad.
Mike Perry, the president and Chief Executive of Hallmark Cards, released a statement: “Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple. 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.”
He continued: “Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”
The wedding website service, Zola, had six commercials on the Hallmark Channel, with one featuring a lesbian couple. One Million Moms, a conservative group, promptly protested the ad.
The group’s petition read: “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. 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. Shame on Hallmark for airing commercials with same-sex couples.”
Hallmark pulled four of the Zola ads, including the one featuring the lesbian couple.
The chief marketing officer of Zola, Mike Chi, stated; “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. 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.”
One Million Moms was not happy with the channel reinstating the ad. The group released a statement:
“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. 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.”