The Hallmark Channel has apologized and reinstated four previously-pulled commercials from the wedding planning website Zola that featured two brides kissing after facing a wave of criticism, The New York Times reports
Hallmark axed the ads last Thursday after the conservative group One Million Moms, which is part of the anti-LGBTQ organization American Family Association, published a petition online against them that garnered nearly 25,000 signatures. At the time, Hallmark said that they did not allow ads “that are deemed controversial” and that the women showing “public displays of affection” violated that rule. This in spite of the fact that the commercials showing heterosexual couples kissing were not yanked.
A backlash to the decision swiftly grew on social media, with hashtags like #BoycottHallmarkChannel going viral over the weekend. Now, Hallmark’s president and chief executive, Mike Perry, has has said the team at Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, “believe[s] 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,” Perry said. “Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”
Hallmark added that they would start working with the LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD to figure out ways “to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.”
“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,” said GLAAD president and chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis. “LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be, a part of advertisements and family programming, and that will never change.”
Zola’s chief market officer Mike Chi also praised Hallmark’s decision to reinstate the ads, saying, “We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed. We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all the LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day.”