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Same-sex wedding advert removed by Hallmark Channel following complaints

Sarah Young
(Zola)

The Hallmark Channel has removed an advert featuring a same-sex wedding following complaints.

On Friday, the American television network confirmed to representatives from Zola, a wedding planning website, that it had pulled the commercial because “they do not run adverts that are controversial”.

The advert was one of six new television commercials that Zola had released during the first week of December and features a lesbian couple sharing their first kiss as a married couple on their wedding day and includes a shot of their ceremonial first kiss as a married couple.

According to Zola representatives, four of the six adverts included same-sex couples in some capacity.

The Hallmark Channel is said to have pulled the advert after One Million Mums called for people to boycott the network.

The group is part of the American Family Association (AFA), which regularly campaigns against LGBT+ rights.

On Monday, One Million Mums condemned Hallmark on its website for showing the adverts, saying that viewers could “no longer trust” the network.

“Until recently, Hallmark had a good record for keeping their movies and commercials family friendly,” the post reads.

“Now, parents can no longer trust Hallmark because Hallmark is no longer allowing parents to be the primary educators when it comes to sex and sexual morality.”

On Friday, One Million Moms updated the post to say that it had received confirmation from Bill Abbott, chief executive of Crown Media Family Networks, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel, that the network had removed the Zola commercial.

“He had reported the advertisement aired in error, but was informed about it after hearing from concerned 1MM supporters,” the update reads.

According to representatives from Zola, Hallmark confirmed it would be removing the adverts on Thursday.

When asked why the commercials could no longer run, Zola was told that that the network did not “run adverts that are controversial.”

(Zola)

As a result, Zola has decided to cancel the remainder of its advertisements on the channel.

“As a company, one of our core promises where any couple can celebrate their love and their wedding, and we’re going to help them plan it,” Mike Chi, chief marketing officer at Zola, told Insider.

“We won’t be running ads with the Hallmark company in any form under the current circumstances.

(Zola)

“We weren’t interested in working with an advertiser whose values weren’t in line with our own.”

Chi added that despite the negative reactions from One Million Moms, its adverts have been well-received by the wider community with the company receiving a number of supportive emails and tweets.

Several disgruntled social media users have also taken to Twitter to criticise the Hallmark Channel over its decision.

(Zola)

“Caving to a petition from a hateful group to remove an advert with a same sex couple. I thought hallmark was supposed to be feel good and about love. Apparently not,” one person wrote.

Another added: “The fact @hallmarkchannel pulled an advert that showed an LGBTQ+ wedding due to complaints from homophobic people disgusts me.

“Won’t be watching anymore Hallmark Christmas films again when they clearly don’t care about or support the LGBTQ+ community.”

“We’ve helped over a million couples with their wedding planning process, and they’ve been overwhelmingly supportive of us embracing diversity,” Chi added.

“We’re very proud of the advertisement we put together, and we’re excited about all of the positive feedback we’ve gotten around it.”

In a statement to the The Independent, Crown Media Family Networks confirmed that it "made the decision to pull the commercials".

"The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," a spokesperson said.

The Independent has contacted Zola for comment.

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