A family friendly television channel owned by Hallmark Cards found itself mired in controversy over the weekend after it pulled an ad last week that showed two women kissing.
On Sunday night, Hallmark Cards, Inc., which owns Crown Media Family Networks, which runs the Hallmark Channel, best known for its bland and blonde annual Christmas fare, backed down from the decision and opted to reinstate the advertisement, which was from Zola, a wedding company.
“Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives,” said Mike Perry, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement.
The ad had been yanked earlier in the week after complaints from One Million Moms, a right-wing and staunchly conservative “won’t somebody please think of the children” sort of organization that runs an incessant campaign against what it perceives as exploitative smut in media.
The group — which has a One Million Dads wing, too — bills themselves as “the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children.” Previously, the groups have gone after Ellen Degeneres, complained about gay superheroes and, in 2013, claimed an advertisement for the insurance company Geico that showed a girl riding in a car with a pig was promoting bestiality.
It’s a part of the American Family Association, a fundamentalist protestant organization that is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and that campaigns for various conservative causes. They’ve even clashed with Hallmark before, throwing a fit in 2008 when the company began selling same-sex marriage cards.
LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change
Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of media monitor GLAAD
At any rate, One Million Moms said that Bill Abbott, CEO of the Crown Media Family Networks, had pulled the ad after hearing from the concerned moms, and that the ad had been aired in error. On the campaign page, One Million Moms posts a sample complaint that reads: “Please Hallmark … we are fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats! You are one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with this issue!”
The response to the decision to pull the ad came fast and furious. GLAAD, a media-monitoring group that supports LGBTQ people, responded with its own petition, asking people to boycott the Hallmark Channel until the ad was reinstated. Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO, said the axing of the ad was “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 celebrated the decision Sunday night: “LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change.”
ABC News reported that Zola was “relieved to see that decision was reversed” by Hallmark. “We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day,” it said in a statement, while telling ABC they hadn’t, as of Sunday night, heard back from the company.