People are calling for a boycott of the Hallmark Channel in the middle of its famous Christmas movie season after the channel pulled an ad from wedding planning company Zola that featured a lesbian couple.
In response, a Zola spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the company had decided to stop advertising on Hallmark entirely.
"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," Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
The trouble started when the ad caught the attention of conservative group One Million Moms. The group wrote on its website that it had received complaints from people who had been watching Hallmark and had seen the ad with two women kissing.
"The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family friendly movies," the group wrote. "Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore."
The group launched a petition calling on Hallmark to pull the ad. Soon, it updated its followers. According to the post, the group "personally spoke to" the CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Bill Abbott, who told One Million Moms it would be pulling the commercial.
"He reported the advertisement aired in error, but he was informed about it after hearing from concerned 1MM supporters. Way to go!" the group wrote.
The Zola spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the company had submitted six commercials to Hallmark, and four of them featured the same-sex couple. Those were rejected, the spokesperson said.
The Hallmark Channel didn't immediately return a request from BuzzFeed News asking to confirm these details. However, a spokesperson told the AP that the channel decided to pull the ads because they were too much drama.
“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, said in a statement to AP.
She continued: "The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it ... we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”
Once people online caught wind of Hallmark's decision, they were totally appalled.
In a statement on Twitter, GLAAD called the move "discriminatory and especially hypocritical."
"As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming. Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups," the group wrote.
Many prominent LGBTQ celebrities and allies also tweeted they were horrified about Hallmark's decision, including Ellen DeGeneres.
A child actor in a Hallmark Christmas film and the reported director of the Zola ad also tweeted about the controversy.
Other TV networks, like Netflix and Freeform, threw shade at Hallmark for the move.
People online are now saying they will #BoycottHallmark.
They called the move "a slap in the face to gay people everywhere."
Some people are even making adjustments to their holiday swag.
And viewing habits.
"Well Hallmark is cancelled. I'll stick to Netflix for my cheesy Christmas Rom Coms thank you very much!" one person concluded.