Amid pressure from LGBTQ groups and a call to boycott the Hallmark Channel, the network has apologized for its mistake when it removed ads from the wedding planning site Zola that featured a lesbian wedding, and it has vowed to begin re-airing the ads, according to a release from GLAAD.
Under pressure from anti-LGBTQ groups including One Million Moms, the Hallmark Channel pulled four ads from wedding registry site Zola that feature lesbian nuptials. But Hallmark kept two Zola ads that don’t include the same-sex wedding narrative, which resulted in Zola canceling the entire campaign and severing ties with the network. By Saturday, #BoycottHallmarkChannel was trending on social media.
The CEO of Hallmark, Mike Perry, said in a statement that the company has always been “committed to diversity and inclusion.” Perry’s statement read:
“Earlier this week, a decision was made at Crown Media Family Networks to remove commercials featuring a same-sex couple. The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe 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. Anything that detracts for this purpose is not who we are. As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.
“Hallmark is, and always has been, committed to diversity and inclusion – both in our workplace as well as the products and experiences we create. It is never Hallmark’s intention to be divisive or generate controversy. We are an inclusive company and have a track record to prove it. We have LGBTQ greeting cards and feature LGBTQ couples in commercials. We have been recognized as one of the Human Rights Campaigns Best Places to Work, and as one of Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity.”
Hallmark has also said it will work with GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands.”
The company also reached out to Zola in terms of mending that relationship. Earlier this week when the ads were pulled, Zola said it was canceling ties with Hallmark for the “foreseeable future."
“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,” Zola’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Chi, said in a statement. “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.”