After One Million Moms petitioned the network to not feature LGBTQ films or ads, the network says it pulled them because the debate was "distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value."
Hallmark Channel is trending on social media, and not because they've filmed 6,000 new holiday movies for their ardent fans to watch. This latest scrutiny comes after the network pulled four ads depicting same-sex weddings.
Conservative watchdog group One Million Moms was one of several such groups that targeted the network after it ran a series of ads from Zola, a wedding planner website, that featured several depictions of marraige, including same-sex unions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, One Million Moms, Lifesite and others urged the network not to air films or ads that represent the LGBTQ+ community.
Ultimately, the network pulled the ads, though in a statement they claim it's not about what it does or doesn't represent about same-sex unions. It's about how distracting the whole conversation is.
"Crown Media Family Networks made the decision to pull the commercials. The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," said in a statement received by THR.
Zola countered with their own statement, pulling any and all advertising from the network: "All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark."
"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," Zola chief marketing officer Mike Chi elaborated for THR. "Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed."
In One Million Moms' initial statement, the group called for Hallmark to "please reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples, and please do not add LGBT movies to the Hallmark Channel. Such content goes against Christian and conservative values that are important to your primary audience. You will lose viewers if you cave to the LBGT agenda."
Instead, fans see this as caving to the anti-LGBTQ agenda, and are calling for a boycott of the network on social media. With the topic trending over the weekend, users quickly jumped on both sides of the topic, creating a heated debate that's sure to be as productive as any other debate on hot-button topics these days.
GLAAD called out Hallmark for its recent comments where they said they were "open" to films featuring same-sex couples, though they've not had any of those yet. As the advocacy group sees it, this move flies in the face of that suggestion of inclusivity.
"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 GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.
You can check out one of the ads and the ongoing social media debate below:
Hallmark is so obviously homophobic and racist. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of movies they have, there's not one lgbtq couple. Not to mention almost all of the main characters in their movies are white people. #BoycottHallmarkChannel
Hallmark not only have you not given poc a fair number of roles over the years now you are letting a hate group pressure you to remove an add because two women kiss in it. You brought this onto yourself and you know what you need to do to fix it. #BoycottHallmarkChannel pic.twitter.com/bzi9q9iHxs