Hallmark Is Sorry for Pulling That Zola Ad Featuring a Lesbian Couple Kissing

Last week, Hallmark decided to pull ads from their network for wedding planning company Zola. Not all Zola ads, but four out of six: specifically, the four out of six featuring a same-sex couple. Now, Hallmark is apologizing for pulling ads featuring a lesbian couple kissing, having caved to pressure from a conservative group and greatly disappointed their LGBTQ fanbase in the process. As stars like Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner took to Twitter to condemn the decision, Hallmark seems to have realized its mistake — and quickly reversed course.

Hallmark had received complaints from group One Million Moms, who claimed that the ad went against the network’s promise to be “family friendly.” Per their statement: “Shame on Hallmark for airing commercials with same-sex couples…Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel.”

Hallmark clearly took these concerns seriously, telling Zola they were pulling the ads on Thursday with this note: “We are not allowed to accept creatives that are deemed controversial.” But when Hallmark’s fans heard about the company’s decision — including some A-list fans like Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner — they made their anger known.

“Isn’t it almost 2020?” DeGeneres wrote. “…what are you thinking? Please explain.” Shatner added: “@1milmoms has 4K followers. I have 2.5 million and my friends have more. Who are you going to listen to?”

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD also took to Twitter to hold Hallmark accountable for their discriminatory behavior and started a petition to have the ads reinstated. “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,” President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said on Saturday. “As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming.”

On Sunday night, Hallmark CEO Mike Perry issued an apology: “Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same sex-couple…Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision.”

“As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” Perry continued. “Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion — both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create.”

GLAAD will be working with Hallmark to improve its representation going forward, and CEO Ellis issued a follow-up statement in wake of the news. “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. LGBTQ people are, and will continue to be a part of advertisements and family programming and that will never change.”

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