12/16/19 – This morning, I learned Crown Media is back-stepping over their decision to stop the advertising after complaints across the world about their actions. Thank you
For those who haven’t heard, the Hallmark Channel stopped airing several advertisements for zola.com – a wedding planning and registry site. The ads they stopped featured marrying lesbian couples hugging and kissing after legally becoming spouses, inspiring the wrath of conservative One Million Moms (OMM). OMM is a part of the anti-LGBT American Family Association (AFA). Friday, OMM published a petition signed by nearly 25,000 who felt the ads were anti-family, and demanded the Hallmark Channel stop airing them. Shortly after, The Hallmark Channel informed Zola they were not airing the “offending” ads.
According to the New York Times, in an email, a Hallmark employee said they didn’t accept ads “that are deemed controversial,” that the women’s “public displays of affection” violated the channel’s policies, but didn’t comment why a nearly identical ad featuring a bride and groom kissing was not rejected.
In a statement made to the Hollywood Reporter, a company spokesperson said:
Crown Media Family Networks [who owns Hallmark Channel] made the decision to pull the commercials. The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.
As a result, Zola has decided to remove all advertising from the Hallmark Channel. Zola’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Chi, stated:
All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.
In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the AFA as a hate group. The FBI defines hate groups as those whose “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization.”
LGBT people are receiving growing acceptance across the country. Gay marriage is legal and common – greatly expanding the customer base for businesses such as Zola. There is no controversy, debate or distraction in these ads. The only distraction is loud screaming from a hate group angry at the acceptance. The only controversy is the Hallmark Channel immediately conceding to this hate group – a decision that causes me to wonder whether they welcomed an excuse to stop same-sex ads?
The hashtags, #BoycottHallmark and #BoycottHallmarkChannel, are trending on Twitter and I agree. I’d like to see more advertisers pulling ads – especially advertisers who have their own advertising featuring same-sex couples and families. I messaged the Hallmark Channel on their Facebook page, expressing my displeasure, but have not heard a reply. Should you agree with me, please take a moment to express your displeasure.