The Hallmark Channel has reversed course and reinstated a series of ads from Zola, some of which feature a kiss between same-sex partners, after pulling the ads following complaints from a Christian group, ABC News reports.
The saga over Hallmark’s controversial commercials, and the way that company has handled the situation, has gone on for over a week now, with each development sparking more outrage than the previous one.
It began, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, when the channel showed a commercial from wedding registry website Zola. The commercial portrayed two women sharing a kiss after their wedding ceremony.
That sparked outrage from the Christian group Million Moms, which is itself affiliated with the American Family Association, a group whose fervent anti-LGBTQ advocacy, among other issues, has earned it the designation of a hate group from The Southern Poverty Law Center. On the Million Moms website, the group posted comments from individuals outraged at the ad, and its airing on Hallmark, which the group had previously described as “generally safe” for family viewing.
Further, the group asked its members to sign a petition calling on Hallmark to pull the commercials, not show commercials featuring same-sex content in the future, and to not show any programming featuring same-sex content.
Hallmark agreed, and rather than putting the matter to rest, it seems as if it only made things worse. Zola, which had purchased ad time for several spots on the channel — some of which featured same-sex kisses and some of which did not — pulled its advertising from the channel.
“Hallmark has now pulled our ads featuring the same-sex couple. We decided to cancel all our advertising on Hallmark and pull the remainder of our ads,” a company spokesperson said, via The Advocate, at the time.
What’s more, the decision caused outrage among the LGBTQ community and its allies. Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner, for example, both publicly criticized the decision. And over on Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottHallmarkChannel was a trending topic at one point.
Now, the company has reversed course and has reinstated the ads.
“[We] believe this was the wrong decision…. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” said Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry in a statement issued Sunday evening.
As for Zola, the company noted that its people would be in touch with Hallmark to talk about a possible return to advertising again on the channel.
“We are humbled by everyone who showed support not only for Zola, but for all LGBTQ couples and families who express their love on their wedding day, and every day,” the company’s chief marketing officer, Mike Chi, said in a statement.