Hallmark Channel CEO steps down after backlash over a lesbian kiss that lasted literally two seconds
The CEO and president of the Hallmark Channel’s parent company has stepped down after a botched attempt to handle backlash over a fleeting lesbian kiss in an advert.
Bill Abbott worked with Crown Media for 11 years, and the company did not give a reason for his departure.
The Hallmark Channel was originally slammed for showing the 30-second advert by right-wing religious hate group One Million Moms.
The advert for wedding-planning website Zola showed two women getting married. While at the altar, they discuss how Zola made their wedding planning easier, before kissing for a total of two seconds and walking back down the aisle. The average yawn lasts three times as long.
But One Million Moms said that “parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT+ agenda” when they watch the channel.
Hallmark subsequently folded under the pressure from homophobes and pulled the ads on December 14, prompting Ellen DeGeneres to write on Twitter, tagging Abbott: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 15, 2019
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Just two days later and following a #BoycottHallmark social media campaign, the channel U-turned on the decision.
It apologised for the “hurt and disappointment” caused, and said it would reinstate the adverts.
Announcing Abbott’s departure, Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement: “After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media, is leaving the company.
“I want to thank Bill for his many years of success and contributions to Crown Media and wish him continued success.”
Perry added: “In a time when there is immense competition among television networks and streaming services, it is more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business and continue to produce high quality programming that resonates with our growing audience.”
The company is currently on the hunt for Abbott’s replacement.