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Hallmark changes course, will reinstate same-sex ad [UPDATE]
2019-12-16

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In the latest development, the Hallmark Channel announced overnight on Dec. 15 will show an ad produced by wedding-planning website Zola that shows two brides kissing.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. CEO Mike Perry said in a statement, in part, "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 will be working with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community across our portfolio of brands. The Hallmark Channel will be reaching out to Zola to reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials."

GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis added, "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."

Under pressure from conservative advocacy group One Million Moms, The Hallmark Channel initially pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar, Bloomberg reported.

"The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," said a statement provided by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.

However, this move had consequences for the network. The wedding planning website Zola said it will pull all of its advertising from the Hallmark Channel "for the foreseeable future" after this development, TheWrap noted. Openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also commented.

Also, local and national figures called out Hallmark. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, "We are at a point in our nation when we need to come together and we don't need to give any voice to hatred," WBBM Newsradio reported. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, "Isn't it almost 2020? @hallmarkchannel, @billabbottHC... what are you thinking? Please explain. We're all ears."

In addition, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) temporarily suspended Hallmark Cards Inc.'s score on its Corporate Equality Index in response to the channel's move. However, after Hallmark's reversal, HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement, "Now, the Human Rights Campaign looks forward to working with Hallmark to ensure that the company is one that lives into its values and pursues meaningful LGBTQ representation, both inside the workplace and in the content it creates."


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