***Update***: Hallmark has apologized for saying it would pull the ad with a same-sex couple and vowed to put those commercials back on the air.
The Christian hate group affiliated with the American Family Association said in a petition that the channel was “no longer allowing parents to be the primary educators when it comes to sex and sexual morality.” (As last night’s Saturday Night Live joked, “If your kid is watching the Hallmark Channel, he already gay as hell.”)
But the pressure campaign worked. According to a press release…
… the group “personally spoke to” the CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Bill Abbott, who told One Million Moms they would be pulling the commercial.
Never mind that there was nothing in the ad that was disturbing, Plenty of similar chaste kisses between couples have been featured in Hallmark’s Christmas films. The only difference is that this couple happened to include two women.
In response, Zola has decided to stop all advertising with Hallmark completely:
“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, Zola’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
As for Hallmark, they just don’t want to take part in any sort of “drama,” according to a spokesperson:
“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, said in a statement to AP.
She continued: “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.”
In short, Hallmark thinks the existence of gay people is too divisive, so they don’t want to show that gay people exist.
That ad wasn’t “drama.” It wasn’t meant to generate “controversy.” It’s only controversial because Christian bigots said it was, and Hallmark fell for it. They should’ve done what every other company does when faced with self-righteous Christian anger: Ignore it. By caving to social pressure from the not-even-close-to-a-million moms, they took the coward’s way out.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis issued a statement denouncing Hallmark’s decision:
“The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies.”
She continued, “As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming. Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”
Remember that these conservative Christian groups feign outrage over a commercial while ignoring things that actually cause harm to people, like Republican cruelty when it comes to tearing apart refugee families. But at least no one will have to see two seconds of a same-sex wedding.