Hallmark Channel Pulls Zola Wedding Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples; CEO Apologizes After Backlash

The holiday season is prime time for the Hallmark Channel, and in an effort to keep holiday viewing content consistent (along with some pressure from a conservative advocacy group), the network decided to pull ads for the wedding-planning website, ZOLA, that featured two brides kissing at the altar.

A spokesperson for the Hallmark Channel said the ads were removed because the controversy was a distraction.

“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” said Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.

Biwer continued, “The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”

But it seems like that’s exactly what the network caused, as many fans criticized the channel’s decision. TV host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted Hallmark: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

Biwer later confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, complained about the ads to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company. A post on the group’s website said Abbott “reported the advertisement aired in error.” The group also wrote: “The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.”

According to CBS News, Zola submitted six ads total, four of which featured a lesbian couple. The company released a statement after Hallmark pulled the lesbian ads, but not the two featuring opposite-sex couples. Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer of Zola, said in a statement sent to the AP, “The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing. Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed.”

Since then, in response to the backlash, Hallmark Cards Inc. president and CEO Mike Perry has released a statement, apologizing. ”The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” Perry said 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. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused. … Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.”

In turn, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis applauded Hallmark for righting its wrong and the LGBTQ community for holding the company accountable, saying, “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 fair and accurate ways.”

The post Hallmark Channel Pulls Zola Wedding Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples; CEO Apologizes After Backlash appeared first on Baller Alert.

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Hallmark Channel Pulls Zola Wedding Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples; CEO Apologizes After Backlash Hallmark Channel Pulls Zola Wedding Ads Featuring Same-Sex Couples; CEO Apologizes After Backlash Reviewed by Black America Press on December 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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