The Hallmark Channel, which prides itself on airing family-friendly programs, caved to pressure from LGBTQ activists and said it plans to reinstate commercials on its channel that celebrate homosexuality, specifically a lesbian wedding where the two women passionately kiss during the ad.
The ad, part of six -- four gay-themed and two heterosexual -- was created by Zola.com, a wedding planning company. After the first lesbian-wedding ad was aired last week, the conservative group One Million Moms complained, and Crown Media, which owns Hallmark, decided to pull the commercial.
However, that sparked a backlash by some prominent homosexuals and LGBTQ activist groups over the weekend and Hallmark subsequently announced it was reversing its "wrong decision" and would seek to reinstate the ads after it consulted with Zola.com.
"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused," said Hallmark CEO Mike Perry in a statement. "Said simply, 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," said Perry. "Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
On its website, One Million Moms said, "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."
On Dec. 14, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, a "married" lesbian, tweeted, "Isn't it almost 2020? @hallmarkchannel, @billabbottHC... what are you thinking? Please explain. We're all ears."
Also, on Dec. 15, pro-LGBTQ actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame, tweeted, "Shame on @hallmarkchannel! Put the commercials back! @1millionmoms has 4K followers. I have 2.5 million and many friends have more. Who are you going to listen to? They are not a majority here. Both me and my followers watch your shows, do they? #loveislove Do the right thing."
GLAAD, which seeks to normalize homosexuality through the media, ran a Dec. 15 article with the headline, "Victory! The Hallmark Channel will reinstate LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements after GLAAD and the LGBTQ community spoke out."
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, also a "married" lesbian, 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," said Ellis. "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.”
People supportive of Zola and the LGBTQ agenda tweeted using the hashtag #boycotthallmark, as did people supportive of real marriage between one man and one woman for life.
One person tweeted, "Not much left on TV for the conservative Christian to watch. Between Netflix and Hallmark taking an anti Christian view. Seems that it is PC to offend people of faith in today’s world. My family will be encouraged to avoid both companies and their products #boycotthallmark."
Another person tweeted, "What year are we in? Did I wake up on the 1950's? Out of touch. #boycotthallmark."
Evangelical Christian leader Franklin Graham said on Facebook, "We can change the channel. That’s what I’ll do if I’m watching the Hallmark Channel and an ad with gay people kissing comes on. My family has enjoyed this channel for years. We—and millions of others—have appreciated their wholesome content that was unlike so much of what is on television today.
"But the LGBTQ agenda bullies everybody -- including the Hallmark Channel," said Graham. "The Hallmark Channel aired an ad from a wedding planning company showing a lesbian couple kissing, then they pulled it after their conservative base shared concerns. Now they’ve announced that they’re reinstating the ad and will again be airing it and others like it. That’s a shame."
In its statement, Hallmark said it would be speaking with Zola.com to start re-airing their commercials.
“Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create," said CEO Mike Perry. "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."
"We have LGBTQ greeting cards and feature LGBTQ couples in commercials," said Perry. "Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands. The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”