Sunday, December 15th, 2019
The American pay-TV broadcaster Hallmark Channel has stopped broadcasting commercials for a wedding planning website that featured a lesbian couple. Previously, the conservative organization "One Million Moms" had put pressure on the CEO of the broadcaster's parent company.
Four of six different spots on the Zola site were removed from the program, which also featured same-sex couples. Two spots that only showed heterosexual bridal couples should continue to be broadcast. After the station's decision, Zola completely waived its spots, the company said.
"The only difference between the advertised spots and those that were approved was that a lesbian couple kissed," said Mike Chi, Zola's marketing director, AP press agency. "All kisses, couples and marriages are equivalent expressions of love. We will no longer advertise on the Hallmark Channel," said Chi.
"We don't want to create controversy"
"The discussion about these commercials distracted in every respect from our broadcaster's goal of producing entertainment," Hallmark spokesman Molly Biwer said in a statement. Biwer said in an interview: "The Hallmark brand should never divide. We don't want to create controversy, we try very hard to stay away from it."
Biwer confirmed that "One Million Moms" had personally spoken to Bill Abbott, CEO of the Crown Media family, about the ad. The organization presented the content of the interview on its website in such a way that Abbott described the broadcast as a mistake. "The conversation gave us the opportunity to confirm that the Hallmark Channel will remain a reliable family-friendly channel."
The actress Sandra Bernhard, who played in one of the spots, ridiculed the station on Twitter. "All the cool lesbian ladies I know will not see your Christmas face," wrote Bernhard: "Didn't you notice? Family includes everyone."
Well-known talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres also wrote to the Hallmark Channel via Twitter: "Don't we have almost 2020? What do you think? Please explain that. We're all ears."