Hallmark Channel reverses course, reinstating same-sex wedding ad pulled over conservative backlash

Hallmark Channel reinstates ad featuring same-sex wedding

After stirring controversy on social media, Hallmark’s CEO is apologizing for pulling a commercial featuring a same-sex couple and says the company will reinstate the ad to air on the Hallmark Channel.

The controversy began when One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, complained about the Zola ads featuring a lesbian couple kissing at a wedding altar, saying the commercial was not appropriate for the family-friendly cable network.

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The ad from the wedding planning company was subsequently removed from the network, generating an outcry from gay rights advocates, The Associated Press reported. The Hallmark Channel responded to the criticism by saying that the ad was serving as a distraction from its programming and that the network’s goal is to never be divisive.

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

Ellen DeGeneres asked Hallmark on Twitter: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

In a statement released Sunday evening, Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards Inc., explained his decision to reinstate the ads to the Hallmark Channel. “Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create. It is never Hallmark’s intention to be divisive or generate controversy, Perry said. He went on to outline Hallmark’s track record of being an inclusive workplace.

As for the fate of the Zola ad, Perry said, "The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”