After pressure from gender rights organizations, Hallmark Channel apologizes for pulling out a commercial run by a wedding planning website that features a same-sex couple getting married.
A total of six commercials from Zola, which shows a lesbian couple kissing on screen after the conservative group One Million Moms called for a boycott of the network. The two women’s “public displays of affection” violates the channel’s policies, a spokesperson for Hallmark told The New York Times. In a separate statement by the channel’s parent company, Crown Media, they said that they are not accepting commercials that are “deemed controversial.”
Now, after receiving backlash from different rights organizations, including GLAAD, Hallmark changes tune and apologizes for what they did. In a statement by Hallmark’s CEO Mike Perry, the company wanted to reach out to Zola to try to reinstate the commercial in their channel.
“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, 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,” he said.
“Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create. It is never Hallmark’s intention to be divisive or generate controversy. We are an inclusive company and have a track record to prove it.”
He continued: “We have LGBTQ greeting cards and feature LGBTQ couples in commercials. We have been recognized as one of the Human Rights Campaigns Best Places to Work, and as one of Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity. We have been a progressive pioneer on television for decades – telling wide-ranging stories that elevate the human spirit such as August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship, both of which highlight the importance of tolerance and understanding.”
The CEO also promised to work with GLAAD to improve their company’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity policies.
“Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands better. The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials,” Perry added.
“Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”
GLAAD also welcomed the channel’s change of heart. “Victory!” GLAAD’s president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement. “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations, like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine. LGBTQ people are and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming, and that will never change. GLAAD exists to hold brands like The Hallmark Channel accountable when they make discriminatory decisions and to proactively ensure families of all kinds are represented in fair and accurate ways.”
Watch the commercial below: