The Hallmark Channel has reinstated the same-sex wedding commercial after facing a massive backlash for pulling it. The channel is in the middle of its busiest time of the year with their Christmas movies, which all seem to follow the same formula. However, after showing an ad from wedding planning website Zola featuring two women getting hitched, a conservative group filed a complaint and amassed over 40,000 signatures on a petition to have the commercial removed. The Hallmark Channel bowed to the pressure and took the ad down.
As it turns out, there were a lot more people who were angry that the Hallmark Channel pulled the same-sex commercial, especially after they found out they were still running the regular Zola ads. A Zola chief marketing executive stated that the only difference between the ads Hallmark Channel approved and passed on had to do with the lesbian couple marriage. So, the company pulled all of their ads from the channel in protest. The story ignited a huge wave of backlash with #BoycottHallmark trending all weekend. This got Crown Media, who owns the Hallmark Channel, to reassess their decision.
Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner were a few of the many who were voicing their disappointment with the Hallmark Channel and Crown Media for pulling the gay wedding commercial. After finding out that taking the commercial down had a lot more of a negative effect than keeping it up, Crown Media decided to reverse their decision. Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry had this to say about the matter in a statement.
"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision... We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
As for Zola, who pulled all of their advertising from the Hallmark Channel, they are happy about the reversal. In a statement, they say they are going to get in touch with Hallmark "regarding a potential return to advertising." Zola's chief marketing officer, Mike Chi went on to say, "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." It sounds like the wedding planning website might be getting a better deal from the Hallmark Channel.
Between December 2nd and the 8th, the Hallmark Channel was placed third in the overall prime-time ratings, behind only Fox News and ESPN. There's a lot of people tuning in to check out Fuller House actress Candace Cameron Bure and Mean Girls' Lacey Chabert in the holiday movies and the network seems to be getting bigger every year, though they have been criticized for putting out the same movie over and over again. ABC News was the first to report on the Hallmark Channel's decision to show the same-sex commercials.