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Hallmark have pulled wedding ads featuring a lesbian kiss after a right-wing hate group lashed out

Josh Milton December 15, 2019
One Million Moms

Two women kiss in an advert aired on Hallmark's channel. (Zola/Screenshot)

Amid piling pressure from a conservative, anti-gay group, The Hallmark Channel have pulled the plug on four ads that featured a same-sex married couple.

One of the commercials for wedding-planning website Zola featured two brides kissing at the alter.

But the ‘family-friendly’ channel – known for its heteronormative rom-coms – was targeted by One Million Moms, an anti-gay pressure group where members have stated that being queer is a “lifestyle choice”.

A Hallmark spokesperson said on Saturday that the ads were shelved as the controversy it caused was “distracting” from the content the channel creates, AP reported.

Hallmark pull lesbian wedding advert amid controversy, which causes even more. 

However, a near-identical advert featuring a bridge and groom sharing a kiss was not pulled – when asked, the Hallmark employee declined to comment.

In a series of six ads, first aired on December 2, they feature an array of different couples. They ponder whether guests would have arrived on time with gifts in-hand if they had used Zola to curate a custom wedding.

Four of the six feature a lesbian couple alongside heterosexual ones, while one shows the same-sex pair kissing.

Moreover, the call to pull the ads based on not showing “overt public display of affection” while still airing the slot featuring a heterosexual couple sparked backlash, according to an email exchange with Zola and Hallmark company officials seen by the New York Times.

“The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories,” the Hallmark spokesperson suggested on Friday in the email thread.

Later that day, Crown Media Family Networks, the channel’s parent company, said in a statement that it had made the decision to shelve the adverts.

“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 by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.

She added: “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.”

‘Isn’t it almost 2020?’: LGBT+ activists and groups express fury at ‘family-friendly’ channel tugging same-sex couple adverts. 

But Hallmark officials’ attempt to dampen controversy only served to fan the flam of fury from the LGBT+ community, where detractors flooded the company’s Twitter mentions:

Zola announce it will no longer advertise on the Hallmark Channel. 

Tensions over the ad’s airing and eventual removal came as Zola had run commercial slots featuring same-sex couples on the channel in the past without hiccups.

As a result, Zola’s chief marketing officer Mike Chi was taken aback by the decision.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

 

More: hallmark, lesbian kiss, one million moms, zola

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