Hallmark pulls commercial featuring two brides kissing after conservative group calls for a boycott
The Hallmark Channel has caved in to pressure from conservative groups by pulling an advert featuring two brides kissing. The commercial, which was created by wedding planning website Zola, came under fire from activists almost as soon as it was broadcast, sparking a debate around censorship and discrimination.
The criticism seems to stem from the conservative action group ‘One Million Moms’ who are in turn a subsidiary of the ‘American Family Association’. Though the group claims to be working to “stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media,” this latest controversy has led some to question their justification.
In a petition to The Hallmark Channel, One Million Moms wrote:
“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.”
Check out the commercial here:
After taking the decision to pull the add, Hallmark originally tried to claim that the kiss in and of itself was the issue, rather than the participants. According to the New York Times, the channel told Zola that:
“The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories."
However, despite their protestations, chief marketing officer of Zola, Mike Chi, said that he believed something more insidious was at play. As he put it to Fox News:
“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. Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed. All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.”