The Hallmark Channel has stopped airing four commercials featuring a same-sex “wedding” after backlash from viewers.
The commercials were for the wedding planning website Zola.com. The ad that sparked the backlash ended with the two women, one in a white suit and the other in a white dress, kissing. The other ads that were pulled also featured same-sex kisses.
One Million Moms (1MM) immediately asked Hallmark to pull the ad, collecting comments from viewers about how the commercial “ruined” their experience watching the “family friendly” channel. 1MM subsequently announced it spoke with Bill Abbott, the CEO of Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media Family Networks, “who confirmed [the] Hallmark Channel has pulled the Zola.com commercial, featuring a same-sex couple, from their network. He reported the advertisement aired in error, but he was informed about it after hearing from concerned 1MM supporters.”
“The call to our office gave us the opportunity to also confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family friendly network. Praise the Lord!” 1MM announced.
“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” Crown Family Media Network said in a Friday evening statement, as reported by the New York Times. That outlet reported that similar ads of heterosexual couples were deemed appropriate for the channel.
“We are not allowed to accept creatives that are deemed controversial,” a Hallmark account representative told Zola via email.
“Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed,” Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer, told the New York Times. “All kisses, couples[,] and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.”
Abbott raised eyebrows in November after suggesting the channel may begin to feature homosexual story lines.
“We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship,” he told The Hollywood Reporter podcast.
Hallmark’s removal of the lesbian ads and Abbott’s conversation with 1MM suggest the channel may be listening to its loyal viewers rather than the LGBT mob.