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Hallmark Pulled An Ad Because It Featured A Same-Sex Couple, And People Are Now Boycotting The 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."

Posted on December 15, 2019, at 10:44 a.m. ET

Zola / Via youtube.com

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.

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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.”

Zola

Once people online caught wind of Hallmark's decision, they were totally appalled.

Just landed back in NY to see this awful news. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just because I love watching Hallmark & supporting its cast/crew, does not mean I’m even close to okay with all the catching up they have to do. But this? Shame on them. Awful. https://t.co/tdamP8TtqV

A war on love is an actual war on Christmas, and everything Christ stood for. No more Hallmark in my house unless this bigoted policy is reversed. https://t.co/yat0Xn2eCw

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.

Isn’t it almost 2020? @hallmarkchannel, @billabbottHC... what are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.

Love is l... oh wait not at @hallmarkchannel apparently Hallmark Channel Pulls Zola Ads Featuring Brides Kissing https://t.co/TPbi31o39q

A child actor in a Hallmark Christmas film and the reported director of the Zola ad also tweeted about the controversy.

@nytimes @hallmarkmovie I’m in one of these movies....I wish they hadn’t done this. 😢

PROUD to have directed this ad with some beautiful people and PROUD to support gay rights. #boycotthallmark https://t.co/lHBjx9Hhtv

Other TV networks, like Netflix and Freeform, threw shade at Hallmark for the move.

Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love 🎥 Let It Snow 📺 Merry Happy Whatever

This is what happens when you focus all your energy on exclusion instead of clever plotlines. Call us, @Zola. We celebrate the holidays with everyone. https://t.co/YREKYbhgrv

People online are now saying they will #BoycottHallmark.

#boycotthallmark Me canceling the hallmark channel like:

no more ornaments from Hallmark! bye, COWARDS #boycotthallmark

They called the move "a slap in the face to gay people everywhere."

This actually has me genuinely angry. It's disgusting and pathetic that Hallmark caved to a mob of trad snowflakes and spiked a perfectly innocuous ad. A slap in the face to gay people everywhere. #BoycottHallmarkChannel https://t.co/ziTMn33ja4

Some people are even making adjustments to their holiday swag.

*burns "Hallmark movie watching" shirt* https://t.co/PvLP3FRlBQ

I just took all my @Hallmark ornaments off the tree and cancelled my @Hallmark movie channel subscription. #boycotthallmark #BoycottHallmarkChannel

In support of myself, wife and all my fabulous friends and family - today I stand against Hallmark (channel, movies and stores) for their action of pulling a lesbian ad by Zola. #boycotthallmark #boycotthallmarkstores #boycotthallmarkeverything

And viewing habits.

If you love the Hallmark holiday movies but don't want to support their sh*tty anti-LGBT network, check out the Lifetime/Netflix offerings! They've really upped their game this year AND they don't pretend gay people don't exist.❤️🎄 @hallmarkchannel https://t.co/60yh9EQ7HK

"Well Hallmark is cancelled. I'll stick to Netflix for my cheesy Christmas Rom Coms thank you very much!" one person concluded.

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