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Hallmark Channel Reinstates Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples

The Hallmark Channel says they made the “wrong decision” when it came to pulling several ads featuring a same-sex couple. The commercials were for the wedding planning site, Zola, and featured two brides kissing at the altar. They originally pulled the commercials after a measly complaint from a conservative group online, which caused an even bigger backlash to occur. The original decision to pull the ads were made by Hallmark Channel’s parent company Crown Media. 

When this occurred individuals took to social media to spread the word about the unnecessary erasure of a whole community from a channel that already featured predominantly heterosexual content. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner started the hashtag “#BoycottHallmarkChannel” which ended up trending. Especially for this time of year, when cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies bring major traffic to the network, the last thing Crown Media needed was a major loss in viewership. 

“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. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” said Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry in a statement. 

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Zola originally had six ads submitted to the channel; four contained same-sex couples, and two contained heterosexual couples. Once Crown Media pulled the four advertisements featuring gay relationships, Zola took it upon themselves to remove the other two as well. The group “One Million Moms” posted the original complaint against the ads to the Hallmark Channel on their official website, and Crown Media quickly replied stating that the ads were submitted and aired by mistake, which is false. 

The network also announced that they will be working with LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD on how to implement further inclusion within the Hallmark Channel. GLAAD created a petition when the advertisements were originally pulled as a means to show the channel all the public support that was for LGBT+ representation compared to one post made by a Christian conservative group of concerned mothers. Now, GLAAD has not only worked with the Hallmark Channel on the importance of inclusion of all kinds of relationships, but they worked with the media to “expose” One Million Moms and their “continued agenda” which works to dehumanize and discriminate against LGBT+ individuals/families. 

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“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 a fair and accurate way,” GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement.

This is not the first time GLAAD has worked with major corporations as a means of establishing representation. Just recently the organization worked on a partnership with Pantene. The collaboration called upon the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles to come and be in a new holiday video series for the company titled “Going Home for the Holidays.” The video series brought light to a lot of the difficulties that many LGBT+ individuals face during the holiday season. It also worked to show that not all families look the same, and often members of the LGBT+ community have to find their “chosen family” that loves and accepts them, as they have gone through the same struggles. 

GLAAD’s work continues to implement further representation on all media networks. This year the organization said that, thanks to the collaborative work from their team and the many mainstream networks/streaming services out there today, LGBT+ representation has never been higher in the entertainment world. Thanks to them the Hallmark Channel will continue to grow and show that this year for Christmas, all kinds of families are beautiful and valid in their own unique way.