Hallmark Channel is drawing ire following its decision to pull commercials featuring a kiss between two brides — a decision it is now defending amid calls to boycott the network.
The ads in question were part of a larger campaign by wedding-planning website Zola, which featured commercials with both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Hallmark removed the commercials that included a lesbian wedding, but continued to air other ads by Zola that featured a bride and a groom. (TVLine has reached out to Hallmark Channel for comment.)
Zola has since pulled all of its advertising from Hallmark Channel. “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,” Zola chief marketing officer Mike Chi told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
One Million Moms, a conservative group, led initial complaints to the network, while Lifesite, a similar group, created a petition that had 44,015 signatures at press time.
Hallmark responded to the controversy in a statement to THR, saying that parent company “Crown Media Family Networks 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.” An employee of Crown Media Family Networks also told The New York Times that the channel does not run ads “that are deemed controversial.”
Watch one of the ads deemed too “controversial” below: