Hallmark Channel Faces Criticism After Pulling Ad Over Same-Sex Kiss

Network faces pushback after responding to criticism from a reactionary group

Hallmark Channel HQ
The headquarters of the Hallmark Channel.
CBL62/Creative Commons

When you think of controversial television, the Hallmark Channel probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And why would it be? It’s known for charming, cozy programming in which gazebos play a major role. But now the network is facing a kind of backlash to a backlash, and it’s over something that should be in no way controversial.

Anita Bennett at Deadline has the details. It began when the Hallmark Channel aired an ad for Zola, which  provides wedding planning and registry services. The ad in question featured two women getting married and then kissing, as tends to be the case at weddings. Unfortunately, the network quickly faced the ire of One Million Moms, a conservative group known for high-profile protests such as this one.

The Hallmark Channel opted to pull the ad, along with several others from Zola. They argued that it violated their advertising policy to show any “overt public displays of affection” as per their statement in a commercial, regardless of the genders of the people involved. As Deadline reports, some have criticized the network for a double standard, arguing that they have aired ads in which heterosexual couples kiss in the past.

And, as Charu Sinha writes for Vulture, there’s also the question of “why a romance channel would ban public displays of affection from their ads.”

In acquiescing with the agenda of a group with a tendency towards reactionary moralizing (previous targets of One Million Moms have included such transgressive entities as, um, Burger King and Teddy Grahams) , the Hallmark Channel has likely ended up taking a worse hit to their public image than if they’d simply left the ad up. You can watch the ad for yourself below.

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