The Hallmark Channel has pulled ads featuring a lesbian coupe kissing at the altar on their wedding day after pressure from a conservative group.
The Zola wedding registry company commercial, which features two women getting married to each other, showed the sweet moment the brides shared a kiss after saying their ‘I do’s’ in front of their family and friends.
But Christian-right One Million Moms group claimed the commercial was not ‘family friendly’ and condemned the channel for featuring the ‘sinful lifestyle’ in its advertising. The group even started a petition and threatened a boycott unless Hallmark pulled the ads.
Now Hallmark’s parent company, Crown Media, appears to have has sided with the right-wing group.
A Crown Media representative explained to Zola it had pulled the commercials because it did not accept ads ‘that are deemed controversial’ and that the women’s ‘public displays of affection’ went against their policies, according to emails, obtained by the New York Times.
New ad: Hallmark Channel aired a Zola commercial featuring two women getting married
Love: During the commercial, the women get married and kiss each other at the alter
Hallmark only pulled four of Zola’s six commercials – the other two feature a bride and groom kiss at the altar.
Crown Media declined to comment on why the similar ad, featuring a heterosexual couple, had been approved.
‘The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,’ Crown Media said in a statement on Friday.
Zola said it no longer plans on advertising with Hallmark.
‘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,’ Mike Chi, the chief marketing officer of Zola, told the Times.
‘Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.’
Zola is a wedding company that aims to make the event planning easier for couples by providing services to help them create their registry, website, invitations, and much more.
Chi said it is not Zola’s first time featuring same-sex couples in its ads.
‘We’ve always focused on portraying a diverse set of couples in our advertisements, he continued. ‘We are a place that celebrates the way that all couples are choosing to get married.’
Even before the ad was pulled, Chi said that Zola had no plans to change its commercials.
‘We would not change our messaging due to any one of our partners not wanting to air the ad,’ Chi said. ‘We believe it’s a representation of our company and what we are trying to achieve…and that will be what we continue to do in marketing messaging.’
One Million Moms had previously complained that they were ‘fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats.’
Controversial? One Million Moms, a Christian-right group, condemned the commercial for featuring a ‘sinful lifestyle’ during its ‘family-friendly’ programming
Backlash: The group is encouraging people to boycott the channel until it pulled the ad
‘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,’ the group wrote in a statement.
It’s statement went on to say an outlet should not be ‘politically correct by forcing tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality.’
The organization also claimed conservative viewers had a similar reaction when watching the ad on the channel.
‘We are fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats,’ the comment read, according to the group. ‘Please remove this and any other gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything else it is called from your channels.’
Diversity might be coming to the Hallmark Channel, whether One Million Moms wants it or not.
Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbott recently said the channel was ‘open’ to featuring same-sex couples in its holiday movie selections.
‘We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship in any space,’ he told co-host Daniel Fienberg on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast. This comes after viewers noticed none of the current movies featured LBGTQ+ couples.
Fienberg wasn’t the only one to express interest in diversifying what Hallmark offers its viewers. The vice president of marketing for Crown Media Family Networks, which produces Hallmark movies, said the company’s considering ‘pitches for [LGBTQ+] movies.’
But there are no current movies in production featuring LBGTQ+ characters.