The Hallmark Channel pulled four TV ads featuring brides kissing each other on Thursday after a targeted campaign by a conservative group.
Asked to explain why the ads had been rejected, an employee of Hallmark’s parent company said the channel did not accept ads “that are deemed controversial,” according to an email exchange shared with The New York Times. A spokesman for Hallmark said the women’s “public displays of affection” violated the channel’s policies, but he declined to comment on why a nearly identical ad featuring a bride and groom kissing was not rejected.
The series of six ads, for the wedding planning website Zola, first appeared on the Hallmark Channel on Dec. 2. The ads, which feature several configurations of couples, all offer variations on the same concept: While standing at the altar, couples ponder whether guests would have arrived on time and bought them better gifts if only they had created a custom wedding website with Zola.
In some of the ads, the couples kiss at the altar and in the aisle, surrounded by friends. Most of the ads feature a same-sex female couple along with heterosexual couples. One of the six ads focuses on only the lesbian couple.
Early this week, One Million Moms, a division of the conservative American Family Association that defines its mission as the “fight against indecency,” published a petition urging Hallmark to “please reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples.”
A statement on the organization’s website announcing the campaign quotes an unnamed commenter on a Hallmark Channel message board: “Why would you show a lesbian wedding commercial on the Hallmark Channel? Hallmark movies are family friendly, and you ruined it with the commercial.” As of Friday evening, nearly 25,000 people had signed a petition to make Hallmark reconsider the commercials, according to the site.
On Thursday, Zola was notified that four of the six ads would be pulled. In the email exchange, an ad buyer representing Zola asks for an explanation of the decision.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: The New York Times, Heather Murphy