The US network pulled a series of TV ads from their air this week — all of them featuring same-sex kissing between two brides, The New York Times reports.
Hallmark’s decision comes after the conservative group One Million Moms petitioned the network to pull ads featuring same-sex kissing.
The commercials were part of a campaign by Zola, a wedding planning website, and first appeared on the Hallmark Channel on 2nd December. Upon airing, One Million Moms led a campaign in protest.
“Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel,” One Million Moms wrote. More than 27,000 people signed the group’s petition, and four of Zola’s six advertisements on the Hallmark Channel were later rejected. The company was notified on Thursday.
According to a Hallmark employee speaking to The Times, the ads featuring same-sex kissing were “deemed controversial.” A spokesperson said the women’s “public displays of affection” were in violation of the channel’s internal policies. However, another near-identical Zola advertisement, which instead depicted a bride and groom kissing, was not pulled from the channel.
“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,” the Hallmark spokesperson said.
Zola told Deadline that the company stands “behind this commercial 150%,” adding that it intends to “feature all kinds of love” in its advertising.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of US LGBTQ organisation GLAAD, also issued a statement to Deadline on Saturday. “The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies,” Ellis said.
“As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming,” Ellis said. “Advertisers on the Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”
The irony of one of our most prominent purveyors of holiday-themed love putting conditions on what, exactly, that love looks like is not lost on viewers. The news sparked widespread backlash, and #BoycottHallmark and #BoycottHallmarkChannel began trending on social media soon after.