Hallmark To Bring Back Gay Ad After Internet Backlash

Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash

The Hallmark saga continues.

This has been a rollercoaster of a month for the Hallmark Channel and company. What first started as a group of tweets complaining that the Hallmark channel’s holiday movies have ignored gay people/love has become an outcry to boycott the company. But the biggest two moments in that saga was when Hallmark signed a deal with wedding company Zola to premiere a series of advertisements (and Hallmark going back on that deal).

One of those ads included the scene of a lesbian wedding. Unfortunately, some of the Hallmark Channel’s conservative viewer base, aka One Million Moms, didn’t take too kindly to the idea. Hallmark quickly relented and removed only the same-sex ad from airing. The company kept the straight wedding videos. As such, Zola pulled out of the deal entirely. When news hit of the dissolved deal, news sources and internet users expressed their displeasure. And now, it looks like Hallmark listened.

The Hallmark company has announced its plans to not only get back into the deal with Zola, but to work towards more LGBTQ-inclusivity in the future.

“Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives,” wrote Hallmark CEO Mike Perry in a press release. “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.”

He then added:

“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. We have been a progressive pioneer on television for decades – telling wide ranging stories that elevate the human spirit.”

Lastly, Perry shared that Hallmark will be working with GLAAD to better represent LGBTQ people across all its brands (gift cards, tv, and more).

Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

In fact, GLAAD was very vocal in its offense to Hallmark’s decision to pull the lesbian wedding ad. The LGBTQ rights organization created a petition urging the Hallmark Channel to reinstate the ad.

“The Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “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, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”

That said, it doesn’t look like everyone agrees with the idea that Hallmark is a “Best Employer for Diversity” or a company to seek out inclusivity. During the height of the controversy surrounding Hallmark’s decision, actress and producer Hilarie Burton tweeted out that she had been “let go” from a job with the tv network during contract negotiations. Burton says the network didn’t like that she included demands for inclusivity in her contract.

“But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my requests were honored, I was told ‘take it or leave it.’ I left it. And the paycheck,” Burton wrote. “Sh**ty being penalized for standing up for inclusivity. I really wanted that job. It was close to my house. It paid really well. It was about the military, which you all know I hold dear.”

“The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there,” she then added. “I’ve been loudly cheering for @lifetimetv all year because they heard my concerns + RALLIED! You want inclusive Christmas magic?! We got it. Love is love.”

Her husband JD Morgan then joined the conversation to express his own disgust at the Hallmark channel.

There has been no word by Hallmark on the specifics of how this partnership with GLAAD will play out and if there are any official plans for LGBTQ content on its tv channel.

Source: Entertainment Online

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